Recent collaboration moves over instrumentation

Endress + Hauser, the Swiss-based level, flow and analytical measurement product manufacturer, expanded their market profile by entering into a collaborative relationship with Rockwell Automation.  The impression is that this is working well, and resulting in increased sales volumes for E+H, possibly particularly in the American markets, where Rockwell is very strong. The E+H booth alongside the Rockwell areas at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Orlando last October demonstrated this close tie: but it extends into more than just extra sales. The link with Rockwell also brings Cisco and their Ethernet expertise into play, and E+H development efforts have been used to support this with the launch last year of a new version of the Promass Coriolis flowmeter with EtherNet/IP connectivity. Further progress along these lines has now emerged, as promised, with an Ethernet version of the Promag 53 Electromagnetic flowmeter: connections to these units are purely mains power and dual RJ45 Ethernet ports, permitting communications, direct service, daisy chain or integrated switch functions.

Simple integration

The Ethernet connection allows fast and seamless integration of the flowmeter into Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture in ControlLogix and CompactLogix, as well as the PlantPAx Process Automation system. Dion Bouwer, Product Manager – Platforms at Endress+Hauser, explains that “For the end user, the primary advantage will be simplicity and speed of integration. Even our own research and development team was astounded by how quickly the Promass integrated into the Rockwell Automation Logix platform. It was literally a case of a few mouse clicks, as opposed to the 15-20 minutes it would take to configure over another network.”

The units provide standard faceplate displays in the FactoryTalk system, and the on-board web server allows this simple configuration and commissioning – but this can also be achieved if needed via the display, or via a service port using E+H FieldCare. The EDS file embedded in the devices for RSLogix 5000 integration allows immediate device recognition as a network node. All the common variables, status bits and both standard and advanced diagnostics from the flowmeters, are visible from the control system display, using the Ethernet communications bus at up to 100 Mbps, typically ten times faster than any other bus system.

Target markets

E+H consider the Promag with Ethernet will be particularly suited to applications in food and beverage and water/waste applications, which are the main areas for the existing Promag range, but the integration capability into Rockwell systems would seem to suggest that the Promass and Promag Ethernet units are targeting filling and blending applications, and for machine and skid builders operating in the hybrid process/discrete control industries, the typical users of Rockwell Automation systems. E+H also suggest that a typical application for the Promass would be in a blending skid, allowing the incoming flow of a number of raw ingredients to be tightly controlled, with a fast response time, helping to maintain the quality of the finished product. As well as measuring mass flow and density, the unit can also be used to measure viscosity, on-line. The promotion at present is based around the USA, Canada and Mexico markets, judging by the datasheet and the relevant website pages that can be located. It will be interesting to see what the next products chosen for Ethernet development will be, in that with slow rates of change and hazardous area requirements, the E+H liquid level sensors are unlikely to benefit from such fast Ethernet interfacing: maybe pressure sensors will give more opportunities?

Honeywell flow products supplied by Krohne

The Honeywell agreement developed with Krohne for level and flow products is significantly different to that adopted by Rockwell with E+H. In the November 2008 issue, the INSIDER (page 2) reported Jack Bolick, the previous president of HPS, Honeywell Process Systems, describing their aim as not to develop a competitive instrument portfolio, but to add instrumentation capabilities in areas like level, flow and corrosion, to enable HPS to deliver a complete solution. Bolick had set up the deal with Krohne, and overseen the acquisition of Enraf tank gauging systems. Last December the INSIDER expressed surprise that Krohne was not visible at the Honeywell User Group meeting in Barcelona: here Enraf systems were a major feature, and another small display showed some process instruments that apparently included an HPS branded Coriolis meter.

Honeywell approach

Jack Roushey, the USA-based global product marketing manager for flow and level for HPS, explained the rationale over these products. The Krohne strength is seen as in the flow products themselves: HPS have tested various models for compatibility with HPS systems, and re-written the specifications to define the hardware and software required for versions to be produced for HPS alone. These are then manufactured as HPS products, complete with Honeywell hazardous area approvals and manuals, and over the last 3 years the HPS sales offices and staff have had the necessary flow expertise and training added.

A full range of instruments

This approach has been applied to Coriolis meters, a clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeter, magnetic and vortex flowmeters, and some level measurement systems – using radar and guided wave radar principles, all specified and targeted at the process instrumentation market. The level products are not seen or positioned as competitive with the Enraf tank contents gauging systems. Since Krohne has no current wireless capability with their sensors, there is no conflict with the HPS range of wireless field transmitters. Developments and enhancements to the product ranges are continuing, to meet new niche market applications. Roushey mentions the moderate success already achieved using the Modbus output direct from the Coriolis flow sensor into PLCs controlling stand-alone special purpose skids, which effectively reduces the Coriolis meter system cost for skid builders.

HPS are pleased with the development of the business for this product range, and Roushey suggests there has been no significant problem in any overlap between HPS and Krohne sales activity, since the target markets and standard types of business differ between the two companies. A key market area for Honeywell, he suggests, is in oil refining, where they have found significant business for larger size Coriolis meters. Possibly the refinery situation in Europe, and the strength of Krohne in Europe explains why these HPS products were only present in a small display at the User Group November 2010 meeting in Barcelona.

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Developments with UPS systems at Chloride

Last summer, ABB and Emerson had a bidding battle when both tried to buy the Chloride Group, based in the UK: the company has now become part of Emerson Network Power. Chloride supplies uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems to major market sectors such as IT services (data centres), finance houses, telecommunications systems providers, as well as energy/oil and gas, transport and retail operations. Chloride recently launched an enhanced version of their Chloride 80-NET UPS, now available with up to 0.5MW capacity, which uses semiconductors (such as IGBTs – insulated-gate bipolar transistors, as also used on electric vehicles) to eliminate all transformers. The replacement of the typical phase shifting transformers by digital, near instantaneous control of voltage and current gives full input power factor correction (input PF>0.99), and can reduce the input current drawn by up to 20%, consequently reducing the required switchgear ratings and cable sizes, to maximize the usable power from the supply.  With the high conversion efficiency (98%) compared to traditional UPS systems at 94%, and low total harmonic distortion, the development has major commercial implications for data centres and the like.

Reduced total project costs

Lamberto Tassara, president of Chloride products and services for Emerson Network Power, said “The technology solves two major problems for data centres. Firstly, it frees them from the limited availability of grid power, and secondly it significantly cuts the capital costs and achieves high energy efficiency.”Rob Tanzer, technical support manager for Chloride AC Power explains “From the end-user perspective, 1MW worth of 98% efficient double conversion UPS will save around GBP100,000 per year in electricity bills alone. While the technologies in the actual UPS units make them more costly, a complete power protection package incorporating those technologies will be much cheaper, because since the transformerless UPS operates at near unity input power, the specifications of gensets, cabling and switchgear can be cut by around 20%, and UK Government Enhanced Capital Allowances can effectively cut up to 28% off project costs.”

Projects for the process industry

Process industry power quality requirements have tended to be less demanding than those of data centres etc, but with the growth of digital control, and high value production processes, even the Chloride 80-NET UPS technology has been applied to these industrial processes, such as refineries. Clients quoted on the Chloride website include BP, Total and EDF. Tanzer goes on to suggest that there are other technology developments in UPS systems that are suitable for process industry use. “Where incremental growth of capacity is required, or very low loads may be encountered, the technology to watch is Chloride Trinergy. It is scalable to between 200kW and 9.6MW, and the technology, introduced in the past year, is really rather special, representing something of a departure for the UPS industry. Whilst it is a double conversion UPS, it has the capacity to use its output inverter as an active harmonic filter, drawing directly from the grid but remaining connected to the batteries. If mains power deteriorates or fails, Trinergy has the capacity to provide the same protection as double conversion technologies, but with throughput losses of around 2% (based on UK mains power quality), which, because it is modular, it is able to sustain even when subjected to loads of as little as 20%.”

Entering the USA market?

Interestingly, the press release for the Chloride 80-NET UPS announces that it is launched everywhere in the world, except North America. In January 1999 Chloride acquired Oneac, which was to “provide a vital introduction into the US market for UPS and power conditioning”. This was followed by an August 2002 announcement of “an investment programme in research and development in order to access the important US power protection marketplace for 3 phase UPS”. It is likely that there will be a stronger emphasis on sorting out these products for the USA and Canada, now that the company wears an Emerson logo!

Remote virtual server for DTM files

M&M Software of St Georgen, Germany, supported by customers and experience from SCADA and DCS projects, has developed an innovative concept using virtual server systems. Their FDT Remote Server allows the seamless integration of diagnostic functions into existing plant systems, and simplifies device configuration and management, by hosting the Device Type Manager (DTM) files on a single server. When an error is reported in a field device, plant personnel can analyse the problem from any workstation, or even a remote device, in the field. The system has advantages where there are many operator stations, in various plant locations. Instead of installing the required DTMs and their updates in all operator stations, all necessary DTMs are only installed in one PC system, the Remote FDT Server, together with the fdtContainer application, which is used to manage all the plant FDT projects. Using VMware or Hyper-V, the remote FDT Server is accessible from each workstation or via a web browser and a Java VNC viewer. This allows the possibility of an engineer using his iPad or PDA to troubleshoot or re-programme equipment over a wireless LAN, either remotely, or even while on site investigating the problem.  Any required DTM updates need only to be installed on the single remote server, reducing workload, and the possibility of errors.

A video presentation describing this approach is available on the M&M website, www.mm-software.com