Growth in mobile backhaul spurs demand for Gigabit Ethernet test equipment

High R&D investments, proving ROI and product pricing emerge as key industry challenges

The key factor driving the global gigabit Ethernet test equipment market is the need for extra bandwidth caused by a flood of video applications on smartphones that offer anywhere/anytime access. This trend is motivating carriers to change from synchronous technology over to Ethernet and is particularly visible in the mobile backhaul segment.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Global Gigabit Ethernet Test Equipment Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $719.7 million (€546m) in 2010 and estimates this to reach $1070.8 million (€813m) in 2015. The segments covered include the1 gigabit test equipment (1GbE), 10 gigabit test equipment (10GbE), and 40/100 gigabit test equipment markets (40/100GbE).

“The year 2010 witnessed an unprecedented demand for Ethernet test equipment in the mobile backhaul space, with the large-scale investments made by wireline service providers finally paying off,” notes analyst Prathima Bommakanti. “The mobile backhaul application market has now moved into the growth stage of the product lifecycle, with demand for circuit speeds varying at the cell sites.”

With the proliferation of bandwidth-hogging 3G/4G wireless devices, there has been an exponential growth in mobile backhaul traffic on service providers’ networks, thus pressuring mobile operators to evaluate cost-effective backhaul technologies.

The market is being driven by converged data and applications such as data, voice, audio, gaming, and social networking sites. According to the IEEE P802.3ba specification, 100G and 40G are well aligned with the projected need for more network bandwidth because of multiplay deployments.

“A positive trend for the market will be the increased requirement for monitoring and security that will impel the need for network analysis and hence gigabit Ethernet test equipment,” adds Bommakanti. “The rising demand for high-speed ports will also promote uptake levels.”

However, the need for high investments in R&D is posing a significant challenge to market expansion. Vendors are continuing to invest in R&D to stay ahead of their competitors even while keeping track of service providers’ infrastructure upgrades and new service enablement.

Proving ROI to end users will also pose a challenge. As technology improves and the functionality of test equipment increases, end users are becoming accustomed to purchasing test sets with greater capabilities across a range of technologies. Hence, market participants are focusing on offering future-proof investment by providing a cost-efficient model and a smooth upgrade path to 40/100G, which is even more expensive.

“Prices for test equipment have steadily fallen over the last few years even as end users have experienced a greater need to create efficiencies and reduce unnecessary expenditures. This has increased pressure on gigabit test equipment manufacturers to make available gigabit Ethernet test equipment with high functionality for lower prices.”

Test equipment in CIS region


CIS is a regional organisation whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics. It was formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Russia and the CIS countries are emerging markets offering long-term potential for general purpose test equipment vendors. Government and private investments in infrastructure development and services are poised to generate new opportunities for test equipment vendors.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, General Purpose Test Equipment Markets in Russia and CIS Countries, finds that the markets earned revenue of $194.8 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach €150.00 ($247.3) million in 2015. The research service covers the following products: oscilloscopes, signal generators, spectrum analysers, multimeters, network analysers, logic analysers, power meters, arbitrary waveform generators and electronic counters.

“Investments in infrastructure are rising with constant upgrades and efforts at modernisation,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager Sujan Sami. “The increase in public-private partnerships (PPP) is set to boost infrastructure development, leading to greater demand for suitable test equipment.”

The education as well as the aerospace and defence (A&D) sectors are major revenue-generating streams in Russia and the CIS countries. The A&D end-user sector was not as badly affected by the economic downturn as other sectors. This, in addition to the growth in the educational sector, is driving demand for oscilloscopes and other general purpose test equipment.

A large territory and customer base also bodes well for market prospects. “Russia is the largest country in the world and is also the 9th largest country in terms of population,” he explains. “This implies a huge consumer base for electronic products that will attract electronic OEMs and create potential for general purpose test equipment vendors.”

At the same time, growth in several industrial sectors is poised to augment demand for general purpose test equipment in the near future. In addition, with the economy recovering from the recession, the pent-up demand for general purpose test equipment is set to hit the market, resulting in heightened demand levels.

However, the lack of private capital expenditure threatens to restrain market growth. Poorer economies such as Tajikistan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova are mostly dependent on state expenditure for growth. This restricts the adoption of newer technologies, hindering market expansion.

With government policies playing a critical role in the development of countries in the CIS region and in Russia, companies also need to keep a close track of evolving government regulations.

“Focusing on total solutions, rather than just selling test instruments, is the key to achieving market success,” concludes Sami. “Moreover, to compete more effectively against regional vendors, companies will need to forge alliances with local channel partners.”

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


“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 →

#prod11 38.5 thousand from 80 countries saw 1234 exhibits in Munich


productronica, (international trade fair for innovative electronics production 15-18 November Munich D), closed its doors after four days having posted a substantial rise in the number of visitors. 38,500 visitors from more than 80 countries represent an increase of around 34% compared with the previous show. This indicates that the industry has greatly recovered in the last two years and is back to the level in 2007. The proportion of international visitors rose from 39 to 48 per cent.

Norbert Bargmann, Deputy CEO of the Board of Management of Messe München said that productronica had “once again confirmed its leading position as the world’s leading trade fair for the global electronics production industry. Following the weak event in 2009 caused by the economic crisis, we held intensive discussions with the industry. The cooperation with our commercial and industrial partners and representatives is now bearing fruit: the highlight themes, the special show, Battery manufacturing and power electronics, and the PCB Community Area were magnets for both new visitor groups and exhibitor target groups.”

Rainer Kurtz, Managing Director of ERSA, Chairman of the Technical Advisory Board for productronica and Chairman of the Productronic Association in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA): “In 2011 productronica also again proved to be the main platform in providing a further boost to the current economic climate. The trade fair is regarded as the marketplace for the electronics production industry: anyone who regards this as important must be present here. The expertise of visitors is outstanding – a large number of specific inquiries are discussed during productronica.“

38000 visitors from 80 countries!

In addition to Germany, the countries with the highest number of visitors included Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Compared with previous events, there was a pronounced increase in the number of visitors from Israel, Poland, Hungary and the Russian Federation. The representative visitor survey conducted by TNS Infratest revealed an overall satisfaction level of 96 per cent on the scale ranging from “excellent” to “good”. 75 % of respondents said they would be attending productronica 2013.

Peter Haan, of Siemens AG, said “The “Automation Systems” business area of the Siemens Industry sector took part in the ‘battery production’ special exhibition. We see the automation of battery or battery cell production as an important topic for the future. The special exhibition gave visitors the opportunity to be able to observe production and the automation it requires as almost all the important process steps were demonstrated by representatives of the appropriate engineering companies. It was possible to conduct numerous technical discussions and establish or build on relationships. All in all our assessment of the special exhibition is positive.” While Ulrich Eckenberger, General Manager Test&Measurement Europe, Rohde & Schwarz said “productronica offers Rohde & Schwarz a good opportunity to cultivate international contacts and generate new leads. We are therefore seizing this opportunity to showcase our latest product highlights at this leading trade fair and doing so – as a Munich company – virtually on our doorstep. After the first two days of the trade fair this year we had already posted approximately a 30 per cent increase in visitor numbers compared with the last productronica.”

Kristi Schilloff, Universal Instruments Corporation added “The productronica show was an excellent venue for Universal to showcase our newest product line introductions. The show was also an ideal forum for us to share our knowledge on both the traditional and emerging electronics industry markets.”

The Innovation Forum and the productronica Forum were very well-attended throughout the duration of the trade fair. Together with the VDMA, Munich International Trade Fairs repositioned trend themes such as “Organic and printed electronics“ or “Energy storage manufacturing” at productronica. One of the Forum highlights was the CEO Round Table. Johann Weber, CEO of Zollner Elektronik AG said, “A large proportion of the audience rated the Round Table as, outstanding‟ since it also focused on the German electronics industry and looked into the future. These forums are decisive and important. The people attending them obtain an enormous amount of information.”

A representative survey conducted by TNS Infratest among exhibitors primarily revealed a significant increase in their level of satisfaction. Over 90 per cent of exhibitors rated the internationality and expertise of visitors, in particular, as “excellent” to “good”. This was also clearly reflected in the overall level of satisfaction among exhibitors: 89%t assessed the outcome of productronica as “excellent” to “good”.

A separate communication platform for the printed circuit board segment – the PCB Community Area – was initiated in close cooperation with the Central Association of the German Electrical and Electronics Industry (ZVEI). Christoph Stoppok, Managing Director of the PCB and Electronic Systems Association in the ZVEI remarked, “We were especially impressed by the Speakers Corner in the new PCB & EMS Marketplace. We would like to congratulate Munich International Trade Fairs on this attractive innovation. With its first-class speakers, the CEO Round Table on the topic „The future of industrial production in Germany and Europe‟ during the productronica Forum provided visitors with an interesting look at future developments, opportunities and risks.“

1,234 exhibitors from 39 countries presented their innovative products and solutions on a net exhibition area of 41,016 square metres (gross exhibition area: 77,000 square metres). This represents an increase of just under 15% in the number of exhibitors compared with productronica 2009 (1,106 exhibitors from 36 countries).

The increase in the amount of net exhibition space was also around 15%, of which approximately 32% of the total area was occupied by international companies. In addition to large numbers of exhibitors from abroad, there were joint stands again this year at productronica, for example from Austria, France, Hungary, Japan and Romania.

We leave the last word to Dr. Eric Maiser, Managing Director, VDMA Productronic who said “Full halls, an excellent mood among exhibitors and visitors – productronica 2011 is really fun. Our highlight themes in the innovation Forum enjoyed a very strong response and the battery production special exhibition in particular was a big hit! We are very satisfied.”

The next productronica will be held in Munich from 12 to 15 November 2013.

"productronica 2011 is really fun!"

#EFMExpo – an industrial event in Cork


Instrument Technology exhibit at EFM Exhibition in Cork

It is quite a number of years since the capital of Munster hosted an industrial exhibition so it was a great pleasure to reaquaint ourselves with many old and indeed new friends at the ENFMExpo held in the Silver Springs complex on the 27th and 28th of September.

The Exhibitors!
ABB Limited
ACE Control Systems
ADA Security Systems
ADI Ireland Ltd
Alpha Sign Nameplate & Decal
Alternative Heating & Cooling Ltd
Apex Fire Ltd

Bord Gáis Networks
Business Safety
Butler Transtest

Camfil Irl Ltd
Clarke Energy Ireland

Clasit Beecher
Complete Alternative Energy
Cooper Industries
Cross Hire
CSC LTD Chemical Systems
Cylon Active Energy


Edina Ltd
EFT Control Systems
EMC Energy
Eurotech Calibration Services Ltd

Finning (Ireland) Ltd
Firebird Boilers
Focus Hygiene Supplies Limited
Frontline Energy & Environmental

GARO Electric Irl
Gem Utilities
General Electronic Access Ltd
GSH Group Ireland

HSG Zander Ireland Ltd

In’Flector Ireland Ltd
Instrument Technology – ABB
Irish Cooling Towers
Irish Industrial Coatings
Irish Power & Process Ltd

Kellihers Electrical

Moloney & Associates

Newbridge Metal Products Ltd

O Neill Industrial Ltd

Phoenix Contact (Irl) Ltd
powerPerfector Ireland Ltd
Premium Power

Radio & Security Products Ltd
Rittal Ltd
RPS Group

Sartorius Mechatronics Ireland Ltd
Sartorius Stedim Ireland
Screenguard Ltd
Sirus Engineering Systems

Traka KMS Ltd


The event promised the  latest developments in Energy Management, Facilities Management along with Safety Health & Security. It was an opportunity too to meet industry experts at the concurrent seminars discussing the latest ideas, technology and services capable of helping plants to increase efficiency.

Over 60 companies exhibited and some of these provided speakers for the almost 20 different seminar talks given throughout the period of the show.

Of course our principal interest was the area of automation and there were a number of instrument companies and system providers among these. We provide a short impression of some of these here.

Manotherm is a company which hardly needs an introduction in Ireland. They have, since time immemorial it seems, been supplying Irish industry with control and instrumentation products, the basics of all process, manufacturing and construction industry automation requirements. They have been called the Instrumentation Supermarket and many times they have come to the rescue in solving a knotty problem with an instrument, sensor or valve, from their extensive stock.

John Watts

JS Watts of Schubert & Salzer

One of their principals, Schubert & Salzer gave one of the seminars on control valves in reducing energy consumption, handling and maintenace costs. John Watts discussed their GS 3 valve – a handy light and highly accurate valve based on principles discussed many centuries by Leonardo da Vinci. Known as a sliding gate valve, the GS3 seat design features a non turbulent, straight through flow path.  The flow is broken apart into multiple streams creating a reduced field of energy.  The result is greater service life, quieter operation and a control valve that performs at the highest levels possible within extreme conditions.

Instrument Technology, who are now  associates for marketing the line of ABB process instruments, had a large selection of flow, pressure and temperature instruments from this range. They marketed the Fisher & Porter range for many years and after the takeover of F&P by ABB their association with the larger entity is a logical development.

A new company to us was Eurotech Calibration Services (ECSL) where Kevin Davis showed the New Zealand based Temprecord range of temperature mapping and monitoring instrumentation. Aplications included the transportaion of blood for transfusions a truly critical application. This company provides calibration to the pharma, medical device, food and beverage industries as well as to other sectors.

Representing the Yokogawa interest, Irish Power & Process  displayed field instrumentation and calibration equipment. These cover, data acquisition, analytical, pressure, flow, wired and wireless – using ISA 100 standard. This company also represents Fluke test and measurement equipment and Camille Bauer.

Phoenix Contact are leading edge manufacturers of industrial control and automation solutions. They have an enviable reputation in the energy industry as suppliers of terminal blocks, DC UPS and Power Supplies surge protection devices, HMIs, IPCs and Wireless communications.

The very active Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA) also had a stand under the watchful eye of Douglas Control & Automation’s Declan Lordan.

The event was organised by SDL Exhibitions with their usual flair an  professionalism and hopefully this successful show will see a return of industrial events as the ecnomic situation improves in the years to come.

The busy Manotherm Stand at EFM

Requirements in metrology software


Constantly Evolving Technologies Require Advanced and Easy-to-Use Metrology Software
Expansive product portfolio will help metrology software vendors stave off competition

Consumers of metrology software have upped the demand for higher product quality in order to streamline their production processes, thereby reducing costs, maintaining efficiency and ensuring profitability.

To achieve these goals, consumers have increased investments in the automation of production processes, where software also plays a key role. Metrology software developers are looking to cash in on this demand by producing flexible, reliable and accurate solutions.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, World Metrology Software Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $254.4 million (ca €186m) in 2009 and estimates this to reach $331.9 million (ca €243m) in 2014.

“The majority of software vendors had spent substantial amounts of money on R&D and marketing to raise awareness among end users about the benefits of software enhancements,” says Research Analyst Prathima Bommakanti. “Eventually, end users are more knowledgeable about the cost-saving potential of software, and this is opening up new market opportunities for suppliers.”

Market participants are striving to keep pace with the evolution of end-user technologies by focusing on ease-of-use and advanced technological feature sets that can accommodate future demand. The need to stand out in the market has forced manufacturers to provide services and solutions that can restore customer confidence and renew demand.

One of the top criteria for choosing a metrology software vendor is a service portfolio. “Without an extended service portfolio and qualified engineers, suppliers have limited scope of becoming leaders in the metrology software market,” notes Bommakanti. “Most key market participants have well trained and experienced in-house staff that can offer complete and customized service support to their customers.”

Although the market is progressing steadily, manufacturers are still trying to shake off the effects of the global economic downturn. Some of the fallouts of the downturn were pricing pressure on vendors and the dip in demand for new applications.

The competitive landscape and the market maturity further compelled software vendors to place emphasis on maintenance contracts from the major customers. The situation will ease gradually, once customers start unfreezing their investment plans. The percentage of licenses is expected to increase as the pent-up demand is released and end users’ business plans are solidified.

World Metrology Software Market is part of the Test & Measurement Growth Partnership Services program, which also includes research in the following markets: World General Purpose Test Equipment Market, World Oscilloscopes Market, and World Signal Generators and Arbitrary Waveform Generators Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

European dminance of general purpose test equipment markets maintained!



The European general purpose test equipment market is recovering from the economic recession. Although the European market is mature, growth over the next few years will be gradual. Promisingly, most design applications are still occurring in the European market. Significant research and development in Western Europe and the growing manufacturing opportunities in Eastern Europe are set to open up a number of lucrative market opportunities.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, European General Purpose Test Equipment Markets, finds that the market generated revenues of €347m (US$487.9m) in 2010 and estimates this to reach €381m (US$535.5m)in 2017. The research covers the following market sectors: power metres, spectrum analysers, network analysers, logic analysers, electronic counters and multimetres.

“The majority of research and development activities in Europe are concentrated in Germany,” notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Mariano Kimbara. “Advanced German technology is helping to set standards worldwide in research, development, production and service, ensuring that the region overall garners increasing market share in the overall test & equipment market.”

The European market leads globally in terms of product innovation. Europe and Germany are the core markets for design development. There are increasing opportunities being presented by the aerospace and defence and the automotive sector.

The economic downturn significantly affected market growth, with a revenue decline of nearly 20 per cent in most segments in 2009 compared to the previous year. A climate of economic turmoil caused end users to reconsider purchasing new test equipment.

Similar to their North American counterparts, European end users were also negatively affected by the economic downturn, due to the decreased spending on test equipment.

“However, the shift of manufacturing activity from the developed Western European markets to the East has resulted in steady demand emanating from this market space,” remarks Kimbara. “This is a key factor that has ensured that Europe continues to account for a substantial revenue share of the total test and measurement market.”

Testing of electric motors for automotive applications

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”.

Final control elements and other stories


Douglas Control  & Automation

Loose Insert: Metrology Systems & Services

The April/May 2010 issue of Read-out, Ireland’s journal of instrumentation, control and automation, highlights final control elements.

Steriflo’s Mark 96 pressure regulator, marketed by Manotherm, is used in sanitary applications. Emersons Fieldvue digital valve controllers are used in an Australian chemical plant “saving us thousands of pounds,” according to the instrument technician on the site. Also featured is Festo’s range of ultra-fast jet valves and Tyco’s EBCO valves to provide full flow replenishment to storage tanks in, for example high-rise buildings.

The front page article gave details of the new marketing strategy of Irish company Biotector Analytical, who have appointed Hach as exclusive distributor in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Europe for their range of on-line liquid analysers. Another company with a presence on the North American continent, Qumas, has won the Deloite Best Managed Company Award. This company is a provider of compliance solutions.

There is a report on the Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation visit to the Blanchardstown Institute of Technology where a large assembly of first and second year students participated in a talk on combined heat and power. These students are hoping to qualify with a BSc in Sustainable Electrical and Control Technology. The purpose of this course is “to equip students with the skills and knowledge to embark upon a rewarding career in sustainable engineering within the construction and manufacturing sectors.”

The National Instruments scheme to support micro and SMEs in embedded development is discussed. This is in the form of training and grants of up to nearly €30,000 in software, support and training. “National Instruments…is committed to supporting innovation!”

John McAuliffe, in the InSide Front article, “Cracking the Safety Code“, discusses the poractical applications of the new European Machinery Directive (SI 407/08). that came into force in January. John is Managing Director of Pilz Ireland.

Among the new products highlightes in this issue is Yokogawa’s DXAdvanced DAQSTATION range, Phoenix Contact’s PSI-Bluetooth ProfiBus set, E+H’s Liquiphant M density meter and Blue-White’s new junction box and connector arrangement on their Flex-Pro A3 peri-pump.

Read-out is published every two months and distributed throughout Ireland. Advertising rates, which have maintained their 2004 levels are on the website in Euro, Pounds Sterling and US Dollars.

The next issue for June/July will concentrate on Flow measurement & Control.

The recently opened facebook “fan-page” lists most stories we receive even those not included in our printed publication. Click if you like us!

Calibration, maintenance, test and measurement



Douglas Control & Automation

Delta V

Some Items

Blue-White’s Peri Pump

Farnell’s focus

Cottner’s remote control

Westermo’s Ethernet line extenders

E+H’s growing family

Madgetech’s freezer validation system

E+E’s condensation monitor

In the February/March issue of Read-out highlighted the calibration, test and measurement sector of automation. It leads with the story of the gradual expansion of Hach Lange in Ireland which provides a complete service throughout the country.

The usual InsideFront article has a word for trainers from MCP’s Senior Trainor John Saysell  in an article entitled “Trainers Please Note!” where he gives ten useful tips for the industrial trainor.

Among the events reported on are a seminar in Belfast last December by Mitsubishi Ireland and the January ProfiBus Seminar held in Limerick as well as the subsequent tour of the Bulmers cider facility in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. It also covers the DeltaV user group meeting held in Cork which had Mick Galwey, the Ireland and Munster International, as a guest speaker.

Among the books highlighted in this issue were two of direct relevence to calibration and maintenance personnel. These were Mike Cable’s Calibratation: A Technicians Guide and Greg McMillan’s pocket guide, Good Tuning, both published by the International Society of Automation.

There was an article on their automated audio amplifier manufacturing test system by Ahmed Issa and Patrick O’Halloran at the Dublin enterprise Benetel Ltd, a RF/Wireless solutions company specializing in system and circuit design and test.

It also featured an item from Industrial Automation Insider on the use of social media networking, Social Media Works!

This issue also featured news of people and companies in the automation world as well as a wealth of new product developments including:

ASCO Numatics low power Ex d pilot valve, The first portable, stand-alone multi channel oscilloscope  from Metrix, Yokogawa TMI’s precision power meters and Stantronics LCR meters for measuring frequencies.

Read-out is produced every two months and distributed to over two thousand named automation people, managers, technicians, technologists and fitters as well as to training institutions.

It is available on subscription to readers overseas for a nominal charge to cover air postal rates. Readers on the Island of Ireland may receive the publication at no charge on completion of a registration form. Full details are on here on our website.

It is available on subscription to readers overseas for a nominal charge to cover air postal rates. Readers on the Island of Ireland may receive the publication at no charge on completion of a registration form. Full details are on here on our website.

The next issue of Read-out will highlight final control elements.

Who reads Read-out? [] Advertising Rates