Wireless lifting!

22/11/2019

New wireless control technologies are being adopted by manufacturers and users of cranes and other lifting equipment. Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology Ltd explains the advantages and looks at how the field is developing.

LoadSense

Trade Ship Harbored at Port of San Pedro, California, U.S.A.

Most of us find it odd to look back five or ten years to when our home computers were tethered to the wall by a cable. Somehow we just accepted that the cable restricted the mobility of the device and lived with that limitation. Now, of course, it is completely normal to pull a mobile phone out of your pocket and dial up the internet so that we can look up obscure information, book tickets or connect with a computer many miles away.

In the industrial and commercial arenas, wireless technology has revolutionised many practices. Logistics companies now routinely track the progress of every single parcel in their charge; field engineers collect data from and send instructions to remote facilities such as water pumping stations; customer accounts can be updated in real time, etc.
However, there is another aspect to wireless technology that is less obvious to the general public, but which engineers and technicians are really coming to appreciate. This may best be described as ‘local wirelessness’ or ‘wireless LANs (local area networks)’. Basically these remove to the need to install and maintain wiring for control equipment fitted to machinery such as cranes, hoists, lifts and elevators.

Control technology is essential to many modern industries, as it is the only practical way to ensure reliable operation and high efficiency.

Handling products through a busy working environment whether it is a container port, manufacturing plant, warehouse, logistics centre or retail outlet involves making sure that materials handling is rapid, accurate and safe. This requires a control system that can handle huge amounts of data in real time, can safely operate heavy duty machinery, and if necessary withstand extremes of climate and environment. Further, as many operations now run 24×7 there are likely to be immediate consequences to breakdowns and other stoppages, meaning control equipment has to be robust and reliable.

However the basic principles of a control system are relatively simple. The rotation of drive shafts in the various cranes and other machinery can be used to collect load and movement data on each item being moved. Each turn of the shaft will progress the equipment’s operation forward or backward a small but consistent amount, and if you can also measure the torque (rotational strain) in the shaft you can calculate the weight of the load being transferred.

This raw data stream can be used to easily calculate operational information such as the amount of goods or product moved, the time to completion of each operation, and the destination of each load. It is also equally easy to convert this operational data into commercial information and safety reports that include cumulative operating hours, total load lifted and other statistics.

In the past taking measurements from drive shafts has been difficult, but TorqSense, from Sensor Technology, provides a perfect solution. Previously, it was necessary to install sensors in difficult to access parts of industrial machinery and wire them back into the communication network that connected with a computer for collecting and interpreting the data. And once installed, the wiring had to be protected from damage and replaced if it failed.

However TorqSense gets around this by using radio transmissions instead of wiring. Further, old fashioned torque sensors tended to be delicate because they needed a fragile slip ring to prevent the turning drive shaft from pulling the wiring out of place, whereas TorqSense uses a wireless radio-frequency pick-up head that does not need physical contact with the rotating shaft.

A practical attraction of TorqSense is that its wirelessness makes it ultra-simple to install and robust in use. Furthermore it is largely unaffected by harsh operating environments, electromagnetic interference, etc. It is equally at home measuring coal on a conveyor, working on a dockside crane weighing and counting containers or in any other lifting application.

TorqSense is proving popular with an increasing number of users across many fields – not only in lifting, but also in robotics, chemical mixing and automotive applications – almost anywhere that uses machinery with rotating drive shafts.

Sensor Technology has also developed a complementary range of sensors, which measures the straight line equivalent to torque. Called LoadSense, this too uses a wireless radio frequency pick-up to collect data signals from the sensing head and transmit them wirelessly to a receiving computer for analysis.

It is notable, that both TorqSense and LoadSense can be used in a fully wireless mode, but equally can be fitted into conventional cabled systems, so is easy to retrofit into existing control systems.

It is also interesting to know that LoadSense was actually developed at the behest of a particular customer, a helicopter pilot who wanted real-time and exact information about the weight of loads he was carrying from an underslung cargo hook. The issue for him was that he would invalidate his helicopter’s certificate of airworthiness if he drilled a hole in the fuselage for a cable, so he had to have a wireless solution. This application also required very robust hardware that could withstand heat and cold, extreme movements and shock loads and be unaffected by motor noise, radio interference etc – all characteristics that translate well into fields such as lifting, conveying and cranage.
TorqSense, LoadSense, wireless data transfer and communications are making an increasing contribution to the development of materials handling technologies. While they are ‘invisible’ to the casual observer, they have the capacity to revolutionise many aspects of lifting operations and to drive efficiency, reliability and safety to new levels.

#PAuto @sensortech

Disinfection robot with robust wireless access.

31/10/2017

STERISAFE-Pro is a disinfection robot from the Danish company INFUSER. It disinfects surfaces in any given room – for example patient rooms, operating theatres or hotel rooms – removing up to 99,9999% of pathogens. The robot fills the designated room with an Ozone-based biocide agent which kills unwanted bacteria, viruses and fungi, while purifying the air from small particulate matter in the air. STERISAFE-Pro is controlled from outside the room using wireless technology from HMS Industrial Networks.

The unit produces Ozone (O3) by using the oxygen (O2) already present in the room. All that is needed is electricity and water. By diffusing Ozone and a fine mist of water, it is possible to expose all surfaces in a room. The Ozone oxidizes the membrane or shell of bacteria, viruses and fungi, leading to total deactivation of these micro-organisms.

The Ozone-saturated atmosphere in the room is sustained for a defined period of time, during which the pathogenic micro-organisms are killed on surfaces and in the air. Ozone naturally turns back to Oxygen after having reacted with pathogens and other pollutants, leaving no chemical residue.

Robust wireless access needed
Although ozone is a naturally occurring gas, it is harmful at high concentration levels and the STERISAFE-Pro requires that the operator is outside the sealed room while the robot runs its cycle. The operator uses a tablet which is connected wirelessly to the PLC inside the robot. INFUSER has created an app which the operator uses to control the robot. The app interfaces with the built-in webserver in the PLC.

OK, so that sounds easy enough, but accessing a PLC which is inside a hermetically sealed, stainless steel machine which performs surface disinfection, demanded a wireless solution with high performance.

Thomas Clapper

“When we first started developing STERISAFE-Pro, we used a regular commercial access point, but we soon realized that we needed something more robust and advanced,” says Thomas Clapper, production responsible at INFUSER.

“We needed an access point that was omni-radiant and also 100% sealed. This is when we came across the Anybus Wireless Bolt from HMS Industrial Networks.”

The Anybus Wireless Bolt™ is a wireless access point for on-machine mounting. It can communicate via WLAN or Bluetooth up to 100 meters and is built for harsh industrial conditions both when it comes to the physical housing and the wireless communication.

It was a perfect fit for STERISAFE.
“We use WLAN to communicate between the PLC inside the robot and the tablet and really benefit from the robust communication that the Wireless Bolt offers. We also needed to design unique connections for each robot/tablet-pair, so that it is possible to run several machines in the same area without radio interference. This is also something that the Anybus Wireless Bolt allowed us to do.”

Wireless Bolt

Tough demands
But the project has not been without challenges. One issue that INFUSER ran into was that Ozone sets tough demands on durability. Although the Wireless Bolt is IP67-classed (meaning that it is waterproof down to 1 meter’s depth), INFUSER still found that the rubber washer on the Bolt was not Ozone proof.

But since the Anybus Wireless Bolt is mounted in a standard M50 hole, it was easy to find a replacement – a washer that HMS now can offer as an alternative to their offering too.

“Implementing the Wireless Bolt was very smooth indeed,” says Thomas Clapper. “We had communication set up in a matter of minutes and have really not had any issues when it comes to the wireless communication. The Wireless Bolt is simply a very reliable and sturdy wireless solution.”

@HMSAnybus #PAuto #Robotics #Wireless

Communication analysis: Industrial Ethernet & Wireless v Fieldbus.

06/03/2017

Industrial Ethernet and Wireless growth is accelerated by the increasing need for industrial devices to get connected and the Industrial Internet of Things. This is the main finding of HMS Industrial Networks’ annual study of the industrial network market. Industrial Ethernet now accounts for 46% of the market (38 last year). Wireless technologies are also coming on strong, now at 6% (4) market share. Combined, industrial Ethernet and Wireless now account for 52% of the market, while fieldbuses are at 48%.

Fieldbus vs. industrial Ethernet and wireless
HMS’s estimation for 2017 based on number of new installed nodes in 2016 within Factory Automation. The estimation is based on several market studies and HMS’s own sales statistics

HMS Industrial Networks now presents their annual analysis of the industrial network market, which focuses on new installed nodes within factory automation globally. As an independent supplier of products and services for industrial communication and the Internet of Things, HMS has a substantial insight into the industrial network market. Here are some of the trends they see within industrial communication in 2017.

network-shares-according-to-hms-2017-jpg_ico500
Industrial Internet of Things is boosting Industrial Ethernet growth
According to HMS, industrial Ethernet is growing faster than previous years, with a growth rate of 22%. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 46% of the global market compared to 38% last year. EtherNet/IP and PROFINET are tied at first place, with PROFINET dominating in Central Europe, and EtherNet/IP leading in North America. Runners-up globally are EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP and Ethernet POWERLINK.

Anders Hanson

Anders Hanson

“We definitely see an accelerated transition towards various industrial Ethernet networks when it comes to new installed nodes,” says Anders Hansson, Marketing Director at HMS. “The transition to industrial Ethernet is driven by the need for high performance, integration between factory installations and IT-systems, as well as the Industrial Internet of Things in general.”

Wireless is redefining the networking picture
Wireless technologies are growing quickly by 32% and now accounts for 6% of the total market. Within Wireless, WLAN is the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly being used by machine builders to realize innovative automation architectures and new solutions for connectivity and control, including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions via tablets or smartphones,” says Anders Hansson.

Fieldbus is still growing, but the growth is slowing down
Fieldbuses are still the most widely used type of networks with 48% of the market. Fieldbuses are still growing as many users ask for the traditional simplicity and reliability offered by fieldbuses, but the growth rate is slowing down, currently at around 4% compared to 7% last year. The dominant fieldbus is PROFIBUS with 14% of the total world market, followed by Modbus-RTU and CC-Link, both at 6%.

Regional facts
In Europe and the Middle East, PROFIBUS is still the leading network while PROFINET has the fastest growth rate. Runners up are EtherCAT, Modbus-TCP and Ethernet POWERLINK.
The US market is dominated by the CIP networks where EtherNet/IP has overtaken DeviceNet in terms of market shares.
In Asia, a fragmented network market is very visible. No network stands out as truly market-leading, but PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used. EtherCAT continues to establish itself as a significant network, and CC-Link IE Field is also gaining traction.

More and more devices are getting connected
“The presented figures represent our consolidated view, taking into account insights from colleagues in the industry, our own sales statistics and overall perception of the market,” says Anders Hansson. “It is interesting to see that industrial Ethernet and Wireless combined now account for more than half of the market at 52%, compared to fieldbuses at 48%. The success of a series of industrial Ethernet networks and the addition of growing Wireless technologies confirms that the network market remains fragmented, as users continue to ask for connectivity to a variety of fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless networks. All in all, industrial devices are getting increasingly connected, boosted by trends such as Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. From our point of view, we are well-suited to grow with these trends, since HMS is all about ‘Connecting Devices.’”

 @HMSAnybus #PAuto #IoT

The road to Wireless – which wireless standard suits you best?

17/08/2015

WiFi, Bluetooth or Zigbee? Tom McKinney of HMS Industrial Networks offers a review of the available short range wireless standards for industrial applications.

Tom McKinney, Business Development Manager at HMS Industrial Networks

Tom McKinney, Business Development Manager at HMS Industrial Networks

Recently the buzz around Industrial IoT has grown to a deafening roar. The market for IIoT devices is projected to grow exponentially over the next several years as businesses start to capture more data regarding their operations. That data will be used to monitor and optimize processes, and as companies learn to use the data they capture to improve processes, the result will be increased productivity. Beyond internal productivity, this data may lead to improved company-to-company operations benefiting both the producer and the customer.

Multiple technology advancements have converged to make large-scale Industrial IIoT deployments possible. These advancements include reduced cost of data storage, lower power RF solutions and higher levels of network accessibility. Another important enabler for Industrial IoT is wireless standardization.

Wireless is nothing new
Wireless networks have been used for over 30 years in the industrial market. In the past, these networks were typically sub 1GHz proprietary systems. The solutions used simple modulation techniques like amplitude-shift keying (ASK) or frequency-shift keying (FSK). Radios that supported these types of modulation could be created easily with a handful of discrete parts. The drawback of these solutions were a complete lack of security and limited bandwidth.

Over the last twenty years, several standards have been developed to define robust radio solutions. The most recent standards are secure enough for broad deployment. In addition, several new free-to-use frequency bands where introduced in the 80s including the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Deploying a standardized radio solution today is a cost-effective secure way to both monitor and control devices in the field or factory. Given the number of wireless standards to choose from, the question becomes which standard is the right standard to deploy.

Summary
1) WiFi
a. Pros
i. Highest Bandwidth up to 600Mbits/s with 802.11n
ii. Fixed 25 MHz or larger Channels
iii. Support for 2.4 and 5GHz channels
iv. Extensive security features
b. Cons
i. Range is lower with higher data rates and 5GHz
ii. Not a good match for battery powered sensors
2) Bluetooth/BLE
a. Pros
i. Very low power
ii. Massive deployed
iii. Very good performance in congested or noisy wireless environments
iv. Ease of use, no frequency planning or site map requirements
b. Cons
i. Max data rate of 2Mbits/s
ii. No automated roaming standard
3) Zigbee
a. Pros
i. Very low power
ii. Fixed channels between WiFi channels in 2.4 GHz band
iii. Support for sub 1GHz bands
b. Cons
i. Complicated mesh network
ii. Max bandwidth of 250Kbits/s

So let´s take a look at the three most common wireless standards deployed in the 2.4GHz band: Bluetooth, WiFi and Zigbee.

WiFi
WiFi or IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n is the widest deployed consumer and enterprise wireless TCP/IP network solution. WiFi is short for Wireless Fidelity and is a standard used to identify Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) devices. The committee managing this standard is aims to create the best possible wired TCP/IP network replacement. The committee prioritizes security and speed over all other tradeoffs. As a result, 802.11n has the highest bandwidth of any short range wireless standard. The drawback is power consumption and processing power required to effectively manage the 802.11 stack. These drawbacks created a gap in the market and several standards have emerged to address the very low power wireless market.

Bluetooth
Bluetooth and Zigbee were both introduced to address markets not serviced well by WiFi. The Bluetooth standard addressed the needs for a low power Personal Area Network (PAN). A PAN is defined as the network that surrounds a person or a smart device. The requirements include fast association, simple human-to-machine interfaces and low power. In a PAN, multiple transmitters can be placed very close together – Bluetooth includes timing to ensure device transmitters don´t overlap. Bluetooth was also designed under the assumption it would have to co-exist with WiFi and includes a frequency hopping algorithm to ensure Bluetooth messages can get through even when multiple WiFi channels are active. Finally, because Bluetooth uses a very low power transmitter, it is less sensitive to multi-path compared to WiFi. As a result, Bluetooth can be deployed successfully without extensive RF site reviews and planning. The system is very resistant to noise and interference.

Zigbee
Zigbee is based on IEEE 802.15.4 which is a general-purpose, low-power wireless radio standard that allows different protocols to be built on top of the standard radio. Zigbee set out to support low power sensor networks capable of covering a large area. Zigbee uses meshing networking and a very aggressive power profile to meet the needs of this niche market. Zigbee´s protocol is designed for quick turn-on and turn-off, thereby saving power. Several other protocols have been built on top of 802.15.4 including ISA100, WirelessHART and 6LoWPAN.

Bluetooth Low Energy
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) was introduced as an update to the Bluetooth standard. Leveraging some of the techniques used in 802.15.4, BLE was able to achieve even lower power points when compared to Zigbee and support many of the features originally created by the Zigbee standards effort.

Selecting the standard for you
So which standard is the right standard to deploy? That depends on the system requirements. In summary, WiFi has the highest bandwidth and most comprehensive stack but Bluetooth, BLE and Zigbee offer features ideal for particular applications. For example, if monitoring battery-powered sensors over a very large area, Zigbee would be the ideal standard. Bluetooth/BLE works well as a cable replacement point-to-point technology or for monitoring sensors over a smaller area. BLE has a huge installed base of tablets and phones making it an excellent choice for human-to-machine interfaces.

Although technology standards may vary, there is no doubt that more and more applications will be wirelessly connected in the near future. With the advent of Industrial IoT, billions of devices will need to hook up to the Internet, and many of these connections will undoubtedly be wireless.


Accelerating development of smart, power-efficient IoT applications!

28/07/2014
Delivering intelligent connectivity starting at the network edge

B&B Electronics has introduced its Wzzard™ Intelligent Sensing Platform.    Wzzard is an easy to use, complete wireless sensor connectivity platform for the rapid deployment of scalable, intelligent, reliable Internet of Things (IoT) networking in remote and demanding environments.   Wzzard was designed to help integrators, VARs and service providers efficiently develop and deploy secure, smart, self-powered, and scalable IoT applications.

BBWzzardUnlike a traditional SCADA application where sensors and edge devices are simply passive conduits for raw data, edge decision making delivers a more effective network.  Using iterative control limits and gateway data aggregation to support applications closer to the network edge, the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform brings this intelligence to the network starting at the sensor, creating a more responsive, reliable and efficient network.

There are several key components and technologies that comprise B&B Electronics’ Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform, as demonstrated here: B&B Smart Sensing Wzzard Platform

First, Wzzard Intelligent Edge Nodes will connect, via conduit fitting cable gland or M12 connector, to any industry-standard sensor. General-purpose analog inputs, digital input/output and thermocouple interfaces are included. B&B has already integrated internal temperature and accelerometer sensor options, and can integrate other application specific sensors upon request.

The Intelligent Edge Nodes are easily configurable, using Android or IoS smartphones or tablets and the Wzzard app over Bluetooth LE 4.0. They can be configured to communicate only data outside specified thresholds, reducing the cost on cellular networks, as well as to associate other useful information (geo-location, device name, and up-time) with the collected sensor data for upstream analytics applications.   Control time synchronization is used to maximize battery life, exceeding 5 years for many applications.   Nodes are IP67 rated for outdoor use and include both magnetized and screw mount options.

Next is the communications component. B&B chose SmartMesh IP® wireless sensing technology from Linear Technologies Dust Networks.  SmartMesh IP is based upon the wireless IEEE 802.15.4e standard and creates full-mesh networks, sometimes referred to as “mesh-to-the-edge” networks.  SmartMesh IP networks use a triple-play of wireless mesh technologies—time diversity, frequency diversity, and physical diversity—to assure reliability, resiliency, scalability, power source flexibility, and ease-of-use.  At the core the technology is an intelligent mesh network with advanced algorithms and power saving technologies that enable powerful features not available from other WSN providers including:

• Ultra low power consumption

• Deterministic power management and optimization

• Auto-forming mesh technology for a self-healing and self-sustaining network

• Dynamic bandwidth support, load balancing and optimization

• Network management and configuration

• Zero collision low power packet exchange

• Scalability to large, dense, deep networks

wzzard_groupWzzard’s Intelligent Edge Nodes can join the mesh network at any time without gateway interaction.  Nodes attach automatically, and the SmartMesh IP technology dynamically self-configures to re-form the mesh network. To ensure data always reaches the gateway, nodes will determine their optimal RF paths to other nodes and back to the gateway. The SmartMesh IP protocol implemented within the edge nodes includes advanced network management functions and security features such as encryption and authentication. For more information: B&B Smart-Sensing What is Smartmesh

Wzzard also uses the lightweight, publish/subscribe messaging transport MQTT protocol for sensor communications.   MQTT is an extremely simple messaging protocol created for M2M and IoT applications over wireless networks. Its efficient distribution of information to single or multiple receivers, low power usage and minimized data packets make it ideal for mobile or remote locations. Unlike older SCADA protocols such as Modbus, MQTT places few restrictions on the volume or type of data that can be communicated. This facilitates a meta-data approach where multiple IoT applications can act upon the information simultaneously without having to know its origin.

Finally, B&B’s programmable, industrial-grade Spectre router serves as Wzzard’s Intelligent Gateway. Spectre can connect equipment and other devices to the Internet or Intranet over either wired Ethernet or wireless cellular connections. Spectre is built for plug-and-play simplicity with extensive remote management, deployment and customization options.  It is a robust, flexible gateway designed for easy deployment in demanding environments and the cellular version creates secure connections in locations where cable connections are impractical.

Processed information from the sensor nodes is published through the Spectre Gateway up to the customer’s IoT application using MQTT transport protocol.

SeeControl is one of the first IoT platform providers to leverage the Wzzard Intelligent Sensing Platform and MQTT protocols to develop applications. (More information at: B&B/SeeControl Partnership)

“Today, most business analytics can only describe what has happened and why,” said Parthesh Shastri, SeeControl’s vice president of customer success and strategy.  “The industry can move past descriptive to predictive and even prescriptive analytics using IoT technologies such as B&B’s Wzzard that applies edge decision making and processes information collected from sensors before transmitting relevant, as opposed to raw data, up to SeeControl’s SaaS remote management platform. Cloud-based big data analytics is then better able to derive meaning from the data, and prescribe specific courses of action, to drive more intelligent applications.”

Jerry O’Gorman, CEO of B&B Electronics explained, “The Wzzard platform’s technologies, protocols and hardware work together to reduce the complexity, expertise and time it takes for integrators to develop scalable IoT solutions.   We developed Wzzard to facilitate the coming world of connected intelligence, where smart machines and systems will collaborate, inform and make decisions on the intelligence gained from each other with little or no human supervision. Humans will program these smart networks, but then they have the ability to run efficiently and autonomously, sometimes for years, until there’s data reported that requires human intervention.”

Possible Applications:

  • Flood and water level monitoring
  • Smart car parks; vehicle counting, air quality
  • Smart irrigation systems monitoring soil moisture, environmental conditions, leaks
  • Mechanical condition monitoring/preventative maintenance
  • Energy measurements and audits on a per system or machine basis
  • Data center environmental monitoring
  • Tank and lift stations
  • Condition monitoring and optimization in industrial environments
  • Traffic monitoring of over-height vehicles for tunnels and bridges

EMC tests find higher uptake as wireless technology gains currency. #PAuto

26/05/2014

The wider integration of wireless technology into products that were previously wired has caused a steady shift in electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) test services from classic or non-wireless testing to wireless testing. This trend, along with the proliferation of smart devices, has resulted in a higher number of new frequency bands. The greater density of frequency bands, in turn, has created a need for noise and emission reduction, making a strong case for enhanced EMC tests and services. 

Cartoon Science Borealis

Cartoon Science Borealis

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, The European Electromagnetic Compatibility Test and Services Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $405 million in 2013 and estimates this to reach €409.6 million ($557.8m) in 2020. 

“With the integration and implementation of new technologies as well as the increasing complexity of electronic equipment, customers will require enhanced types of testing services,” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement & Instrumentation Research Analyst Rohan Joy Thomas. “Consequently, there will be the demand for EMC test equipment such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) test receivers, which are capable of more and quicker measurements, and spectrum analysers that are faster as well as more efficient and versatile.” 

The market will be sustained by the advances in the automotive industry, where there is intense activity around electric and hybrid vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars consist of a high voltage power source, an electric motor, a frequency convertor as well as high power cables. The high voltage power source could lead to more emissions of radiation, which can pollute the environment, or interfere with other electric equipment. 

To ensure that the vehicle is electromagnetically compliant with its surroundings, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) require EMC testing services and consultations from a market participant with significant expertise in this domain. Overall, the higher sophistication of electric and hybrid vehicles generates a need for upgraded EMC test equipment and systems. 

However, although opportunities are plenty, the maturity of the market hinders the growth of smaller participants. As suppliers of EMC testing equipment and test services build their reputation on experience as much as technical expertise, it will be difficult for a market entrant to break into the market. The high investment costs are also significant entry barriers to a fragmented and price-sensitive market. 

“In such a scenario, participants tend to pull out all stops to retain their customer base – primarily by providing exceptional customer services and international standards of testing,” noted Thomas. “As EMC testing equipment and test services are highly specialized, participants have to constantly offer technological innovations and act as one-stop shops for customers.” 

The European Electromagnetic Compatibility Test and Services Market is part of the Test & Measurement Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related research services include: Global Sensor Outlook 2013, European Fiber Optic Test Equipment Markets, Western Europe General Purpose Test and Measurement Equipment Market, Analysis of World Markets and Trends for System-in-Package (SiP) Technology and World Densitometers and Profilometers Markets. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. 


#EMrex Revving up in Stuttgart!

07/04/2014
The Emerson  Global Users Exchange in Europe was a three-day event for existing and potential users of Emerson Process Management products and services. The event was held from 1-3rd April 2014 in Stuttgart, the capital of the German Land (State) of Baden-Wurtemburg (D).

FSTStuttgartMany memories sprang to mind as the Aer Lingus flight from Dublin touched down gently at Stuttgart Airport. It was over forty years since I had been there on a training course – in pneumatic instrumentation – in a local company which has long since been swallowed up , much like pneumatic controls,  in the advances and takeovers since that time! There on the surrounding hills was the emblematic fernsehturm, the very first television tower in the world and a symbol of a resurgent city recovering from the ravages of total war.

I was travelling to the Emerson Exchange User Group meeting (Tagged #EMrex on twitter) of the European, Middle East & African region along with over 1,200 others anxious to learn of the experience of others as well as learning of any new “goodies” Emerson themselves might have to unveil! This was the second such event in Europe, the last was also in Germany in the city of Duesseldorf, two years ago – see Automation returns to Duesseldorf. Of course the User Conference for the Americas has been held annually for a number of years (see our Reports here!)

The event started with a plenary session where everybody gathered in the main hall to hear the schedule for the three days, a business update on Emerson and a technology update.

Francisco Diaz-Andreu opens the Emerson Global Users Exchange, Stuttgart, April 2014

Francisco Diaz-Andreu opens the Emerson Global Users Exchange, Stuttgart, April 2014

Delegates were welcomed by Francisco Diaz-Andriu, of Repsol, Spain and member of the Board of The Emerson Users Group. He has been active in automation in Spain for many years and was the founding president of the vibrant International Society of Automation (ISA) Spain Section, in which he is still active. He gave a preview of what attendees could expect during the three days. He outlined the work of the user group in the organising of the conference and the composition of the board. Needless to say they are always looking for new members to broaden the application expertese available to future events.

The Porsche factor!

Roel van Doren

Roel van Doren

Emerson’s European President, Roel van Doren, started with the first presentation talking about the company’s philosophy.  A great company is a company that asks the right questions. Instead of, “What can we sell you?” or “What do you want to buy from us?” a great company asks its customers questions like, “What is your vision for the way your plant should operate?” or “How can we work together to solve your problems?”

This kind of collaborative approach to the customer relationship is the essential idea behind the strategic direction Emerson is taking. Taking his cue (excuse the mixed metaphor!) from one of the companies for which Stuttgart is famed far and wide, Porsche, he drew a comparison, “Like the pilot of a high performance race car you face many challenges that come in your direction at an ever increasing speed. And like a pilot, you must be able to react quickly to those challenges. You need to be able to fully trust the team that’s behind you. Our hope is that you will trust us to be the business partner that you can rely on, and that you will trust us to be part of your team. Because when the right people with the right technology come together, magic happens.”

The Plenary Session

The Plenary Session

Pervasive Sensing
The Chief Strategic Officer of Emerson, Peter Zornio, can always be relied upon to give an interesting presentation and this year proved no different. He spoke about the expansion of the Emerson offering from being merely process control towards an all-embracing monitoring of the entire operation, whether in the process area or in the peripheral areas within and without the premises. He introduced us to the iOps concept – Integrated Operations. As technology has developed so has it been possible to see what is happening in all areas of the plant – in real time. It calls for a clear, up-to-date view of what’s happening in all aspects of an operation. This assists in more efficiency, increased staff effectiveness and therefore more productivity. By using what they have named Pervasive Sensing they have adopted a policy based on the axiom “You can’t improve what you don’t know!” With this philosophy it is possible to prevent problems rather than react to them.

The iOps centre during a demonstration.

The iOps centre during a demonstration.

Later we had the opportunity to visit the iOPs facility set up on the Exchange exhibition floor where demonstrations were a big attraction.

Think for change
An entertaining keynote was given by Dave Beckman, a former marketing executive with Emerson and who now spends his “retirement” as a speaker to the process industry. He advocated thinking outside the box,not to be afraid to be on the edge. He also was optimistic for the future as countries suddenly realised that they ought to rely on their own resources.

Emerson Exchange Daily

31 Mar {+} 1 Apl {+} 2 Apl {+} 3 AplReleases at the event!

+ Asset management software update reduces fieldbus device commissioning time by up to 80%

+ Pervasive Sensing will more than double the existing measuring market!

+ Wireless condition monitoring and prediction system reduces plant downtime and maintenance costs on Teeside!

+ Wireless improves leak detection maintaining regulatory compliance & enhance safety

+ Air cooled heat exchanger monitoring solution!

+ Cooling tower monitoring ensures cooling water availability, quality reducing chemical costs!

+ Dealing with dull, distant, dirty and dangerous locations!(iOps)


This is a nice 3min video from Nicolas Menet from the event entitled, “Final Control Valve Solution”

He cited the example of the United States which has changed almost beyond recognition. This has largely been the result of the technology which allows the extraction of shale gas. It has changed everything! Suddenly this huge country is again self sufficient in fuel. This is going to happen elsewhere too as the political situation changes due to economic circumstances. And things are changing to make previously unthinkable policies suddenly acceptable. Witness the effect of the Fukashima disaster! All nuclear power stationa are now being closed down in Japan and in Germany. What are these great countries to do for energy?

Keeping up!
In some way it may be said that a person who attends one of these multi-thread conferences has a disadvantage over the person who is sitting at his desk following things on twitter. I did attend one or two of the sessions as well as the afternoon press conference at which details of new products and applications were given. Links to these may be found in the box.

The Exchange daily news was emailed to all who requested it on each evening and these gave an excellent resume of events.

But of course nothing can compare with the networking at these events. Now in the age of social-media, one knows a lot of people without ever meeting them. Conferences like this are an opportunity of meeting people whose tweets or contributions other social networking platforms you have been followed. This was no exception and besides meeting many European and American press people like Keith Larson of Control, Nick Denbow of Industrial Automation Insider and John McKenna of Process Engineering. We also had the chance to meet the very active, possibly the most active in automation, Emerson Twitter cluster including Jim Cahill, Chris Amstutz, Nick Taylor and, for the first time, Mike Boudreaux.

Social aspect
There was a social aspect to this as well and many hostelries in the city benefitted from delegates sampling Schwaebish cuisine. This correspondent and his companions for the evening couldn’t have had more praise for the Stuttgarter Staeffele – (Your restaurant for Swabian specialties!). German food has an ill-deserved reputation for being somewhat stodgy but a visit to this 40 year old restaurant will, without doubt, change any such preconceptions.

There was also a group event which was a visit to the Porsche museum to tittalate the little boy in many as they drooled enviously over these glorious machines made with such precision and care. There are over eighty vehicles on display. We are not sure how many orders were placed as a result of this visit!

• The next Emerson Exchange Users Exchange is scheduled for the Americas. It will be held in Orlando, (FL USA) from 6th to the 10th of October 2014. Maybe you’ll be there.