New Titanium sensor for Emerson ultrasonic gas flowmeters @ProcessingTalk #PAuto

Emerson has released the Daniel T-200, a titanium-housed transducer, for its gas ultrasonic flow meter product line, marking the first use of metal 3D printing to enhance the acoustic performance of ultrasonic flow meters in gas custody transfer applications. The robust design of the T-200 provides increased reliability, uptime and safety while achieving the highest accuracy class attainable in gas flow measurement.

In an ultrasonic flow meter, transducers generate acoustic signals that are sent back and forth across the fluid stream. The difference in the transit times of these signals is used to determine the fluid flow velocity. Signal quality and strength are critical to measurement accuracy, which is paramount in custody transfer applications. An error of only 0.1% can equate to hundreds of thousands of Euros annually, in a large diameter high pressure pipeline.

“The mini-horn array of the T200 could not be made without metal 3D printing technology, making it transformational to the sound quality and performance achievable through a titanium barrier,” said Kerry Groeschel, director of ultrasonic technology, Emerson. “Emerson is committed to developing innovative solutions that help our customers achieve safer, more efficient operations.”

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This all-metal sensor housing provides a barrier from corrosive hydrocarbon fluids and wet gas, thereby extending the life of transducer components and ensuring stable performance. This unique design allows the meter to be hydrotested with transducers in place, steam cleaned while in the operating line and blown down – with no limits on the rate at which the meter can be depressurised.

The T-200 can also be safely extracted while the meter is under pressure without special high-pressure extraction tools, which reduces the possibility of greenhouse gas emissions during an extraction. The capsule which contains the piezoelectric crystal – used to create and detect the ultrasonic sound waves – is retractable as a single piece, for simplicity and ease of use.

The new design is rated for a wide range of operating conditions, including pressures from 1 bar gauge (barg)/103 Kilopascal (kPa) to 255 barg/25,855 kPa and temperatures from -50 to 125 degrees Celsius.

For more information please consult the Emerson ultrasonic flowmeter website.

E+H on course for growth in 2020

Endress+Hauser has reported on their 2019 financial year, and confirms they remain on course for growth. In 2019 the Group increased net sales by almost 8 percent, to over 2.6 billion euros. The Swiss measurement and automation technology specialist created 400 new jobs worldwide. At the end of the year the company had more than 14,300 employees.

“We have grown across all fields of activity, industries and regions,” said Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. The strongest impetus came from the Asian region. However Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East all developed positively, but at a much slower pace. “With good product innovations, we have set a clear benchmark in the industry.”

In 2019, order entry rose faster than sales. “Endress+Hauser has started 2020 with a significantly higher order backlog than the year before,” reported Chief Financial Officer Dr Luc Schultheiss. He confirmed that in 2019 “The Group was able to maintain return on sales at the previous year’s level. We are satisfied with our profit before taxes.”

However E+H has lower growth expectations for 2020. They anticipate sales growth in the mid-single-digit percentage range, and aim to maintain profitability. “However, there are still many uncertainties,” stressed Luc Schultheiss.

E+H will present its audited 2019 financial figures on 12 May 2020, in Basel, Switzerland.

Delta Controls acquired Mobrey….

Last April, Delta Controls were pleased to announce that they had signed an agreement with Emerson to purchase its Mobrey line of measurement products manufactured in Slough, UK – previously a part of the Measurement Instrumentation  business within Emerson Automation Solutions, and closely aligned with the Rosemount products. To ensure a smooth transfer of the Mobrey-branded products over to Delta, the transaction involved a two-step process.

  • Emerson designated Delta as the exclusive global distributor for the Mobrey product lines, commencing on 1st April 2019.
  • The official transfer of Mobrey (employees, inventory, intellectual property, product approvals, etc) was to take place no later than 30th September 2019.

For Delta Controls, their new enlarged business offers customers and distributors a wider range of leading instrumentation products from a single supplier and, importantly, a long-term commitment to support these brands and technologies.

The Mobrey portfolio of point level alarms and continuous level measurement products provides reliable measurement, monitoring and control of liquids and dry products. The manufacture of the Mobrey products will continue at the Slough premises ensuring continuity of supply and quality standards.

Chris Webborn, Director for Nuclear Applications at Delta Controls, said ‘We had been looking for some time for a partner for level products that would meet our high standards of reliability and value. In Mobrey we have this in a great complementary series of products backed by a superb name and reputation’.

The business is now renamed Delta Mobrey Ltd, and the new expanded Delta Mobrey Product Overview Catalogue is now available, including the Mobrey products now exclusively sold and distributed through Delta Mobrey Ltd.

Trusted globally for rugged reliability, Mobrey products have been providing industries with highly capable measurement products for over 100 years, with a proven range of Switches, Controllers, Transmitters and Steam and Water Level Boiler Control Systems, including the renowned Hydrastep 2468.

Westermo acquires Virtual Access Ltd

Westermo, a business entity of the Beijer Group, has acquired 100% of Virtual Access Limited, an Ireland-based technology company specialising in wireless industrial routers and gateways, plus managed connectivity services for customers in the utility, traffic management and telecommunications sectors.

Virtual Access has 40 employees and operations in Dublin, Ireland, with annual sales of approximately Euro12M (~130 MSEK). With the earlier acquisition of Neratec Solutions AG, a specialist in WLAN solutions used within the railway industry, this latest acquisition provides Westermo with an extensive industrial wireless portfolio to support remote data networking applications in a broad range of demanding applications.

“I am pleased that we today announce this second complementary acquisition to the business entity Westermo. We operate in markets where digitalisation is growing rapidly in an increasingly connected world and the acquisition of Virtual Access strengthens our position further”, said Per Samuelsson, President and CEO of Beijer Group.

Jenny Sjödahl, CEO of Westermo added: “The acquisition of Virtual Access will strengthen Westermo’s offering to the power distribution and utility markets, by providing an expanded remote access technology portfolio supported by our worldwide sales network. This acquisition supports our ‘WeGrow’ strategy in a superb way. Virtual Access in Ireland will become the technology centre for cellular remote access solutions within Westermo”.

Henry Brankin, Managing Director of Virtual Access Ltd, commented “We are very happy to join Westermo and the Beijer Group. Westermo’s worldwide sales organisation will ensure further global market reach and our complementary technologies will create a strong offering to a range of industries”.

The acquisition will have limited impact on Beijer Group’s earnings in 2019 and is expected to contribute in 2020 in line with the forecast Westermo profitability level.

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Left to right: Tom Hughes (Former Chairman), Philip Duffy (CFO) & Henry Brankin (MD) from Virtual Access, accompanied by Jenny Sjödahl (CEO, Westermo), Per Samuelsson (CEO, Beijer Group) and Joakim Laurén (CFO, Beijer Group).

Deutsche Telekom and Endress+Hauser co-operate over 5G data

With its campus networks, Deutsche Telekom offers an infrastructure for the smart factory of tomorrow. Together with partners from industry, Europe’s largest telecommunications company wants to further expand its 5G ecosystem for industry. In the process automation sector, Deutsche Telekom is now co-operating with Endress+Hauser.

The aim of the co-operation is to develop joint offers in the field of measurement and automation technology for the process industry. This involves the integration of measuring instruments and accessories into the next generation of mobile communication networks, as well as the development of digital services based on them. Both companies have signed a corresponding memorandum of understanding and are now working on a co-ordinated timetable.

Measuring instruments with a mobile communication module

Endress+Hauser is one of the first manufacturers to equip its field devices with mobile communication modules and to connect existing installations to 5G networks – via newly developed HART gateways. This enables a large number of instruments to transmit a wealth of process and device data in parallel and in real time. These can, for example, be used in cloud applications for the predictive maintenance of process plants.

Campus networks open second signal path

“In addition to the actual measured values, our instruments record a wealth of information from the process and about the sensor,” said Matthias Altendorf, CEO of Endress+Hauser. “5G campus networks open up a second signal path that is independent of the main plant control system: this makes it possible to separately tap this potential. This will enable E+H to link value chains more closely across company boundaries and make industrial processes more efficient.”

Strong partners for smart production

“Building a complete 5G ecosystem for industry will accelerate the pace of digitalization in industry,” explains Claudia Nemat, member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management, Technology and Innovation. “We look forward to working with renowned and experienced partners.” In addition to the partnership with network supplier Ericsson, the telecommunications company now also cooperates with E&K Automation, a manufacturer of driverless transport systems, and Konica Minolta, which offers augmented reality glasses, among other products.

Yokogawa acquires RAP International

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has signed an agreement with UK-based RAP International (RAP) for Yokogawa to acquire the company and make RAP a wholly-owned subsidiary.

RAP specialises in providing digitised solutions that support risk assessment, management of the permit to work (PtW) process, and governance of control of work (CoW) for all plant maintenance activities.

Integrating RAP’s electronic risk assessment and PtW software solutions with Yokogawa’s real-time plant condition monitoring will improve safety assurance, reduce turnaround times, and support customers in providing enhanced protection for their people, assets, and the environment.

Manufacturing plants rely on scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activities to keep operating, ranging from daily rounds by field service personnel to the replacement of major pieces of equipment that can require shutdown of the entire plant for days or more. Control of work is the setting in place of a predetermined system for maintenance so that all necessary steps are carried out to prevent accidents and injury to people, damage to equipment, and unwarranted release of materials into the environment. However, in many plants these CoW systems are still paper-based or semi-automated through a combination of bespoke spreadsheets and document management systems, which can contribute to human error during operations.

Since 1994, RAP has been developing and implementing software solutions with integrated best practices that let customers digitise their CoW processes to make their maintenance activities safer, more accurate, and more efficient. RAPnet, its flagship product, is a comprehensive and easy to use electronic CoW system for automating maintenance processes: it is built around a large knowledge base incorporating decades of accumulated first-hand knowledge and experience. The digitised off-the-shelf solution includes standard modules for safety risk assessments, PtW management, management of change, interlocks and overrides, and isolation management. The system is complemented by consulting services as well as mobile and cloud-based functionality to fully deliver on the digital ambitions of customers. With support for 25 languages, it has already been implemented at over 150 locations in 30 countries in the oil, gas, chemical, utilities, and steel sectors.

Yokogawa provides industrial automation solutions to optimise productivity and efficiency whilst at the same time assuring plant safety and asset integrity. The company offers solutions that can monitor the health of plant equipment, and a digital platforms to support field maintenance. RAP solutions will further enhance the Yokogawa asset and safety assurance value proposition. Yokogawa will expand the availability of RAP consultancy services and road-tested systems through its global sales network, starting in Europe. The company will also carry out development work to integrate these into its existing technology portfolio and create a digital transformation platform that enables real-time monitoring of both plant assets and maintenance procedures.

Simon Rogers, head of the Yokogawa Advanced Solutions Division, commented: “Yokogawa believes that to create unique value for our customers it is important to integrate domain knowledge into the technology solutions we deliver. RAP systems are built around manufacturing industry best practices developed over the past 25 years, enabling customers to digitise and transform their maintenance safety processes, better protect their workforce, and improve operational efficiency. One of the strategies laid out in our Transformation 2020 mid-term business plan is to expand our OPEX business, so in line with that we look forward to making this outstanding addition to Yokogawa’s safety assurance portfolio available to our customers around the world as soon as possible.”

Taste-testing whisky

A recent article from the journal “Design Products & Applications!

An artificial ‘tongue’developed at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering can taste subtle differences between drams of whisky. The approach could lead the way to better detection of counterfeit alcohol. In a new paper published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Nanoscale, Scottish engineers describe how they built the tiny taster, which exploits the optical properties of gold and aluminium foils to test the tipples.

Sub-microscopic slices of the two metals, arranged in a checkerboard pattern, act as the ‘tastebuds’ in the team’s artificial tongue. The researchers poured samples of whisky over the tastebuds – which are about 500 times smaller than their human equivalents – and measured how they absorb light while submerged. Statistical analysis of the very subtle differences in how the metals in the artificial tongue absorb light – what scientists call their plasmonic resonance – allowed the team to identify different types of whiskies.

The team used the tongue to sample a selection of whiskies from Glenfiddich, Glen Marnoch and Laphroaig. The tongue was able to taste the differences between the drinks with greater than 99% accuracy. It was capable of picking up on the subtler distinctions between the same whisky aged in different barrels and tell the difference between the same whisky aged for 12, 15 and 18 years.

Image courtesy of University of Glasgow

Dr Alasdair Clark, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering, is the paper’s lead author. Dr Clark said: “We call this an artificial tongue because it acts similarly to a human tongue – like us, it can’t identify the individual chemicals which make coffee taste different to apple juice, but it can easily tell the difference between these complex chemical mixtures.

“We’re not the first researchers to make an artificial tongue, but we’re the first to make a single artificial tongue that uses two different types of nanoscale metal ‘tastebuds’, which provides more information about the ‘taste’ of each sample and allows a faster and more accurate response.

“While we’ve focused on whisky in this experiment, the artificial tongue could easily be used to ‘taste’ virtually any liquid, which means it could be used for a wide variety of applications. In addition to its obvious potential for use in identifying counterfeit alcohols, it could be used in food safety testing, quality control, security – really any area where a portable, reusable method of tasting would be useful.”