Remote I/O for Honeywell Safety Manager

Honeywell has released a universal remote input/output (I/O) module for its Safety Manager platform that allows process manufacturers to integrate more safety devices while simplifying installation and maintenance. The module is ideal for facilities that must cost effectively integrate equipment, units and other assets that are spread over wide geographic distances, such as upstream applications in the oil and gas industry.

Plants and refineries use Honeywell’s safety instrumented system (SIS) platform, Safety Manager, to safeguard their assets and to share critical safety information with process control systems. The new Safety Manager Remote I/O module is designed for the harsh environments often found with offshore oil and gas operations, such as production platforms located in extreme-climate regions ranging from Alaska’s North Slope to tropical Southeast Asia.  An increasing focus on safety has led to a greater need for SIL (Safety Integrity Level) certified systems that can operate in these tough environmental conditions. Safety Manager’s remote I/O module is SIL-3 certified, by Germany-based TÜV Rhineland.

The new remote I/O module also helps facilities more easily expand the Safety Manager solution. Typical I/O modules are wired to control rooms through junction boxes and marshalling cabinets. By using soft-marshalling, the Honeywell Safety Manager Remote I/O module can be mounted close to the process unit, eliminating the need for marshalling panels and homerun cables, and reducing or eliminating field auxiliary rooms. This reduces overall capital expenditure, engineering cost as well as maintenance costs.

Perpetuum Free-Standing Energy Harvester

Roy Freeland of Perpetuum is frustrated that there is no progress on the adoption of one wireless communications standard encompassing both ISA100.11a and WirelessHART, the latter otherwise now known as IEC62591, as it is holding up any real adoption of wireless sensor technology in major areas of the oil and gas industry, and in NAMUR recognition, that would give an opening for wider adoption of his vibration energy scavenging product developments. Meanwhile his latest product, the already IS approved FSH Free Standing Harvester, goes on display on Booth #1026 in the Energy Harvesting Pavilion at Sensors Expo in Rosemont, Illinois from June 7 – 9. First press description is presented below.

The Perpetuum Free-Standing Harvester (PMG FSH), a best-in-class integrated power solution, combines electromagnetic vibration energy harvesting technology with a selectable suit of energy charge, storage, and management options and is optimized for industrial machine asset condition-based monitoring.
The harvesters convert unused mechanical vibration into useable electrical energy to power wireless sensor systems used to monitor Balance of Plant machinery assets. The PMG FSH is designed with highly efficient drive circuitry for charging an external storage device up to 4ma at 5V while reporting power levels via a standard 3-pin IEC connector. The PMG FSH output can be monitored via the 3-pin IEC interface to provide power output status to a Wireless Sensor Node. The PMG FSH features a high power output up to 20mW.
The PMG FSH offers the most flexible design integration into OEM and system integrator products to minimize design efforts and shorten “time to market” cycles. It can also provide the most efficient way to integrate energy harvesting into existing products.
Compact in size, hermetically sealed and industry-ready, the stainless steel PMG FSH is designed with two mounting options: a robust magnetic mount and a center thru-hole. Additional functional capabilities also can be designed into the PMG FSH. Operation has been verified over the full industrial temperature range.
Intrinsically safe, certified versions of the PMG FSH are available carrying ATEX and IECEx certifications. CSA certification is pending.

Yokogawa two-wire magnetic flowmeter uses dual-frequency excitation

The new Yokogawa ADMAG AXR is a two-wire magnetic flowmeter that achieves high performance by using dual-frequency excitation technology.

To date, most magnetic flowmeters have been of the four-wire type, where high accuracy and performance are achieved by using a dedicated power-supply cable that is separate from the signal cable used for the measurement current output. The two-wire type, on the other hand, uses just one pair of wires for current output and power supply, offering significantly lower installation costs by requiring neither a dedicated power supply cable nor a power-supply unit.

Despite these benefits, conventional two-wire magnetic flowmeters do have limitations in terms of measurement accuracy and stability, and as a result have not been well accepted in the process automation sector. Now, however, Yokogawa has developed the dual-frequency excitation technique for minimising electric noise in two-wire models to a level comparable to that of four-wire magnetic flowmeters, thereby achieving the high measurement accuracy and stability needed for use in control loops.

The Yokogawa dual-frequency excitation method uses high-speed digital processing to execute the complex algorithms required to enhance stability and performance while at the same time minimising power consumption.

A further performance enhancement is provided by a new coil configuration. Because a two-wire magnetic flowmeter has a limited power-supply capability, the current supplied to the excitation coil is normally too weak for signals to be differentiated from electrical noise. To resolve this problem, Yokogawa has adopted a new high-density coil construction method that enables a stronger magnetic field to be generated with a low current.

Yokogawa has also found ways to minimise the noise level by smoothing the inner surface of the measuring tube and developing an electrode that generates very little noise. As a result, the Admag AXR makes it easy to differentiate signals from electrical noise, thereby achieving a measurement accuracy comparable to that of a four-wire magnetic flowmeter.

User friendliness in the new Admag AXR has been enhanced through the addition of a full dot-matrix LCD display capable of displaying messages in six different languages, enabling magnet switches to be operated without opening the cover, the addition of an electrode adhesion diagnosis function, and a design change that allows the orientation of the converter to be changed on site.

The elimination of the need for a dedicated power-supply unit and power-supply cable has allowed a sharp reduction in instrumentation cost. The lower power consumption of the two-wire instrument also reduces running costs. The Admag AXR is ideally suited to fluid flow measurement in a variety of industries including chemicals, iron & steel, and food & beverages.

Endress+Hauser weathering the crisis

The effects of last year’s economic crisis have been felt at Endress+Hauser, with sales dropping for the first time in the company’s history. But the international Swiss-based Group remained profitable during the past year and the financial power of the family-owned business even increased. After a good start in 2010, Endress+Hauser expects sustained recovery and considerable growth.

Speaking at the Annual Media Conference of Endress+Hauser AG in Basel, Chief Executive Officer Klaus Endress said the company had “experienced one of the most difficult years in its history.” Net sales of the Group fell to €1.096 billion in 2009 (–9.5%). The number of employees, however, remained virtually unchanged, with a staff of 8,419 worldwide at the end of 2009 – only 15 fewer than the year before (–0.2%). “We wanted to avoid job losses,” said Klaus Endress. “We wanted everybody to be on board when business started to gain momentum again.” Endress+Hauser created 2,125 jobs over the past five years, 1,418 of which in Europe. In the region around Basel between Switzerland, France and Germany alone, 775 new jobs were created during that period.

The setback was particularly painful in the chemical industry, one of the company’s mainstays. The slump in sales was heftiest in the established industrialised countries such as the United States, Germany and Japan, said Chief Operating Officer Michael Ziesemer, the CEO’s deputy. Business declined sharply in Russia, but recovered early in China, where sales reached the same level as 2008. India, Korea, the Middle East and Latin America showed positive developments. All in all, Endress+Hauser fared better than the process automation industry as a whole which shrank by 16%.

Worldwide sales and production network strengthened

Despite the crisis, Endress+Hauser continued to strengthen its global sales and production network, setting up its own branch office in Qatar to intensify business in the Middle East and opening a sales centre in Lithuania to improve customer support in the Baltic countries. With €67.2 million (–37.1%) investments were well below the 2008 reference, but no important projects were stopped or postponed. “We have invested over €400 million in the course of the past five years,” stressed Fernando Fuenzalida.

Additionally, Endress+Hauser increased its R & D expenses to €94.1 million (+6%), accounting for 9.6% of net sales. 200 patent applications – as many as in 2008 – demonstrate the company’s unbroken powers of innovation. By acquiring a majority in the English company MHT Technology Ltd, Endress+Hauser strengthened its competence in tank gauging and in tank farm automation.

A good start to the new year

Endress+Hauser has had a good start to the new year. After just four months, incoming orders increased by double-digit figures against the previous year. The growth in sales is well above the cautious target of 5-6%. Business in the US and Germany has picked up, Russia is catching up fast and China shows dynamic growth again. Only the Scandinavian countries are still deep in the recession. If this development continues, the Group anticipates that as much as 10% growth is well within reach.

Klaus Endress calls for caution: “Basically, the causes of the economic crisis are still with us.” Future developments are characterised by many uncertainties. “2009 was a difficult year and 2010 won’t be much easier,” the CEO believes. “We are pretty certain that the crisis will be with us for some time to come.”

Honeywell buys Matrikon?..!

Honeywell has agreed to pay some $142m USD, or approximately $145m CAD, for Edmonton Canada based Matrikon, best known to the wide automation community as, by its own assessment, the world’s largest supplier of OPC connectivity products. But what does this mean for the future supply of OPC systems? Is it a bonus for Kepware and their market position in supplying OPC systems to the other major process automation system suppliers? Will Honeywell take the opportunity to replace their own OPC systems with the Matrikon product? Read the full analysis from Andrew Bond in the June issue of the Industrial Automation Insider newsletter, alongside a report from Nick Denbow on the ABB Automation and Power World meeting this week in Houston, where over 4000 delegates were educated fully across the whole ABB range of products and services. For subscription information on the Industrial Automation Insider monthly newsletter see

High flying web-based publications?

Andrew Bond comments on the recent changes at Pro-Talk, comparing the troubles at the Control Engineering US publication (CE), with the new technology superstars typefied by Pro-Talk websites.

Web-based publishing doesn’t necessarily provide a more secure berth than the paper-based variety as INSIDER contributing editor Nick Denbow found when he had his relationship with website brought to an abrupt conclusion last month. Still, it gives him more time to develop INSIDER’s coverage of the instrumentation side of the automation business. Processingtalk is one of the Pro-Talk family of web sites developed by Tony Rand, Andy Pye and others and sold to former Control & Instrumentation publisher Centaur in the mid-2000’s. Also said to be poised for departure from the Centaur stable is Mike Page, one of Pro-Talk’s founder editors and currently editor of Mike is retiring to concentrate more on the freelance articles he enjoys writing, dealing with manufacturing production, and probably railway history too.

But what did Andrew Bond’s INSIDER have to say about CE?

US automation publishing market in retreat!

US automation publishers were up to their knees in crocodile tears last month as they lamented the passing of Control Engineering (CE) magazine and its associated eNewsletters and web sites. While there’s no reason to question the sincerity of the sympathy for the plight of CE’s staff expressed by other editors such as CONTROL’s Walt Boyes and Automation World’s Gary Mintchell in their respective blogs, which might best be summed up as “There but for the grace of God . . .,” wider expressions of regret can surely be taken with a large pinch of salt. The publisher and indeed editor hasn’t yet been born who doesn’t feel a touch of ‘schadenfreude’, combined with a good measure of relief and a quickening of the pulse at the possibility of new opportunities, when a major competitor bites the dust. Nor should one take too much notice of the implication in some of the comments from competitors and others that the decision by publisher Reed Business International (RBI), formerly known as Cahners and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch Reed Elsevier, was some kind of vindictive and perverse action by what Boyes describes as a “mega giant” or the result of what Eoin Ó Riain, Readout publisher and ISA Publications Department VP-elect, suggested was “Lack of enthusiastic support on the part of a huge conglomerate.” Not at any price RBI had announced as long ago as last year that it wished to divest itself of some of its business-to-business publications, following an earlier attempt by the parent company to sell the whole division, and had indeed successfully disposed of a number of titles. The announcement of the closure of CE and what appear to be all of the remaining titles it had failed to sell suggests therefore that it had been unable to find a buyer at any price, or at least at any price that made sense, and that, within its own cost structure, CE didn’t make money. Ruthless they may be in the end, but publishers are more often open to criticism for putting off closures too long than for making them too precipitately, witness some of the titles currently being persisted with in the UK by Centaur, the publisher whose closure of Control & Instrumentation in 2001 Ó Riain compares with that of CE. The month closed with news that CFE Media was acquiring CE and two other titles, reputedly in a managment buy out, so CE may yet rise from the ashes. However, this is the second time in less than a year that a US automation title has run into near terminal trouble, the first resulting in the decision by ISA last Autumn to move InTech magazine from a monthly to a bi-monthly frequency and to outsource all of its electronic titles, along with responsibility for all advertising sales, to, while dispensing with the services of the majority of their staff (INSIDER, November 2009, page 7). Taken together these two events could reduce the US automation publishing market from five magazines at the turn of the millennium when Control Solutions, as Chilton’s Instrument & Control Systems had been rebranded, was still clinging on, to just two and a half today. The big question for the remaining survivors must be whether the US market is even capable of supporting that many. InTech will presumably have to survive in one form or another at least for the foreseeable future, if only because, like many learned institutions’ journals, it’s pretty much the only concrete thing that many members actually see for their subscription.
Gary Mintchell, while admitting that, after a variety of similar experiences, he will “never really feel secure,” believes that the CE “event” is “specific to one company” and that, as “part of a small company that bleeds trade media, print and electronic,” his own title has a long term future.
Walt Boyes, meanwhile, makes a more discursive justification of the role of business to business magazines in general and his own in particular, arguing that “Magazine readership isn’t going down” and that, even in the face of competition from the web, “they still want their magazines.”
Let’s hope he’s right. But the real problem is not whether people want their magazines but whether the established business model for providing them essentially free to the reader or, in the jargon, on “controlled circulation”, supported by display advertising as the main and usually the sole source of revenue, is still sustainable. Many, at least on this side of the water, suspect that in fact that model is irretrievably broken and that publishers, after more than ten years of trying, have still not found a workable replacement. Indeed, while readers may still want their magazines, they don’t necessarily notice their loss for too long once they’ve no longer got them, while advertisers, faced with an ever expanding range of alternative media channels through which to communicate their message, can get along just fine without them. Following the UK lead This is in fact one area where UK experience has foreshadowed that in the US. As Ó Riain pointed out, the UK’s leading title, Control & Instrumentation, together with its previously hugely profitable exhibition, was closed nearly a decade ago and little or nothing has come forward to take their place. True the UK still has two publications in the field but neither is in particularly rude health and one, ironically, presents itself as the European edition of the now defunct CE. In fact Control Engineering Europe, which has been published under license from RBI by IML, has little in common with CE other than the name. Whether that name continues to be an asset in this new circumstance remains to be seen.
Sales manager Mark Burton clearly believes it will, telling “whom it may concern”, presumably principally existing and potential advertisers, that the closure of CE in the US “does not affect in anyway the frequency of print or online products for Control Engineering Europe, UK and the Middle East.” We shall see.

About Nick Denbow

Hi. I started writing website editorials and reports about process industry equipment and instrumentation when I founded and edited the Processingtalk website. I ran this website from 2002 through to April 2010, loading 30,000 product and application stories from around 3000 separate suppliers, and writing an editorial newsletter

Nick Denbow

each week. Now I have moved into the role of associate editor at the Industrial Automation Insider newsletter, with Andrew Bond. This blog is a collection of past editorials and reports, which I will hopefully show the original dateline for, plus the blog will provide an outlet for future articles and reports of interest from process and automation news releases.

I was originally on the other side of the publishing fence, as a marketing manager for several industrial process instrumentation manufacturers, primarily specialising in flow and level measurement systems in the UK. I only started writing technical PR as a profession, and editing Processingtalk, after being made redundant from the manufacturing side, at age 54. As such it was a great opportunity, and I enjoyed building the Processingtalk website. For the future, the Industrial Automation INSIDER newsletter and blog will enable me to continue to enjoy the more interesting aspects of this publishing role, and this website will be developed over the next months as a regular blog.