Vortab flow conditioners

Plant, process and instrumentation engineers who want to learn more about flow conditioning devices to improve the performance, accuracy, and repeatability of flow meters and other flow profile critical process equipment will be interested in a new brochure from the Vortab Company.

A pipe straight-run is required in flowmeter and pump installations to overcome the swirl, asymmetrical flow profiles and otherwise unrepeatable flow that are created by elbows, pipe expanders or reducers, valves, dampeners and other disrupters in the process pipe. In process piping systems, finding or adding a suitable amount of straight-run to accommodate the flow meters, pumps and other critical components is often impractical or not feasible, either technically, economically or both. Flow conditioners, sometimes referred to as flow straighteners, are a practical and cost effective engineering solution to overcome this lack of available straight-run.

The Vortab Company manufactures flow conditioners that utilize proven principles of operation combining proven swirl removal technology with the patented Vortab flow conditioning process to achieve the most repeatable and efficient flow profile available. The various inline and insertion style Vortab products consist of a short section of swirl reduction tabs combined with multiple arrays of profile conditioning tabs.  This design produces rapid cross-stream mixing, minimizes swirl and velocity profile distortions and produces a highly repeatable flow profile that is measurable across a broad flow range.

Flow disturbances caused by irregular pipe runs, valves and other conditions often adversely affect the accuracy and repeatability of flow measurement and control instrumentation.  Vortab flow conditioner products are specified for use with and successfully applied with a variety of flow meter technologies including: differential pressure, turbine, vortex shedding, ultrasonic, thermal and magnetic flow meter technologies. In today’s demanding plant environment, the Vortab Flow Conditioners ensure flow instrumentation accuracy and repeatable performance for improved process control.

Vortab Flow Conditioners feature a very low-pressure loss design. Non-recoverable pressure loss can reduce maximum flow capability in process lines, creating process inefficiencies and requiring greater energy expenditures to move process liquids and gases.  Perforated plates, tube bundles, screens and other flow conditioning technologies produce a much greater pressure loss than the Vortab Flow Conditioners.

The Vortab technology provides unmatched performance with little pressure loss and swirl-free, repeatable, conditioned flow profiles. This tab-type technology is ideal for use with critical process equipment including flow meter installations, pumps, compressors, control valves and others.  The open tab design is non-fouling and will not trap dirt, or be clogged by debris in the flow stream. Traditional Vortab models are for use in air, gas, and liquid applications. Vortab products are installed today in applications around the globe supporting a variety of flow instrument technologies in partnership with major flow instrument manufacturers.

Vortab Flow Conditioners are available with carbon steel, 316 stainless steel or Hastelloy C-276 construction and with several process connections—ANSI flanges, male NPT threads, butt welded preps or retaining wafers. Delivery time is available in less than six weeks, depending on size.  Custom configurations are also available.

60th Anniversary for Endress+Hauser

Endress + Hauser is this year celebrating its 60th year as a specialist in measurement and automation. The following is their press release recording this achievement for the family owned company, released just after welcoming their 10,000th employee.

A global network of companies, a range of high-quality products and solid family-based foundations: 60 years after its foundation, the measurement engineering specialist Endress+Hauser still continues to expand. This success is due to the continuity of a prudently run family-owned business whose first and foremost principle is to satisfy customers’ needs and requirements. ‘First serve, then earn’ was one of the mottoes of company founder Georg H Endress (1924-2008) – and it has lost none of its validity to this day!

Headquartered in Switzerland, the company is today a world leader in measurement and automation engineering, with products synonymous with precision and reliability. The company’s independence, fully owned by the founder’s family, has been laid down in a charter and is bound to be upheld in future. Firmly anchored are also the fundamental principles of the Endress+Hauser Group: a corporate culture resting on trust and a sense of responsibility is the solid groundwork for sustained growth and technological innovation. This ‘Spirit of Endress+Hauser’, filled with life by the company’s leadership, makes values such as modesty, loyalty, commitment and fairness the compass points for entrepreneurial actions.

From the device to the system
The last 60 years have left their mark on the Endress+Hauser Group – in the positive sense: the vendor of devices and instruments became a full-range supplier who supports its customer in operating their plants reliably, efficiently and environmentally compatible throughout their entire life cycle. “Our strength is that we are entirely driven by the market,” says CEO Klaus Endress who manages the company in the second generation. “We learn from our customers and strive to create sustained and outstanding benefits and value for them.”

Today, over 40 sales centers and over 70 representatives around the globe sell products, services and solutions delivered by Endress+Hauser and production sites in 12 countries are engaged in manufacture and development. Thanks to the global roots in various different regions and industries, the Endress+Hauser Group is well able to cope with cyclical fluctuations. The lean and highly networked organization guarantees flexibility and rapid response. 

Almost coinciding with the 60th anniversary, another remarkable landmark has been reached – the company welcomed its 10,000th employee. Around 500 new jobs have been created worldwide in the last 12 months alone. Continuity is held high in the family-owned business: in spite of the finance and public debt crisis in 2009, no employees were laid off – with the result that a new sales record was promptly accomplished in the following year after the economy had begun to recover.

With sales totalling 1.5 billion euros, the Endress+Hauser Group marked up another record year in 2011 – in spite of a strong Swiss franc and a flagging economy in Europe. “Although the market is extremely volatile today, 2012 will be an excellent year for us,” says CEO Klaus Endress. “We trust in our strength and look ahead with confidence, but we must stay alert.” With well-targeted acquisitions in biotechnology, gas analysis and energy management, Endress+Hauser has recently rounded off its product portfolio. With an equity ratio of over 70 percent, the company is largely independent of lenders and is well equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

Endress+Hauser: 1953 to today

It all began rather small and inconspicuous: on 1 February 1953, Swiss engineer Georg H Endress and German banker Ludwig Hauser set up their company in a backyard in Lörrach, Germany. The first level measurement instrument was patented just two years later and these innovative measurement instruments soon enjoyed a good reputation in the industry. As early as 1957, sales exceeded one million Deutschmarks.

In the subsequent decades, the fields of operation were expanded to include flow, pressure, analysis and temperature, with new production sites built or bought for development and production. With a growing number of sales partners, Endress+Hauser gradually conquered first the European market and the Asian and the American markets soon followed. After Ludwig Hauser’s death, the Endress family became sole shareholders in 1975. At that time, the company had around 1,000 employees. 15 years later, the headcount reached 4,000 with sales in excess of 500 million Swiss francs.

At the dawn of the digital transmission and communication era around 1990, Endress+Hauser was actively involved in various fieldbus initiatives. In early 1995, the company founder placed the business in the hands of his second eldest son Klaus Endress who runs it to this day. Responding to the challenges of globalization, Klaus Endress developed the international network of production and sales, while at the same time steadily expanding – and still expanding – the service range (project planning, maintenance, calibration) and extensive automation solutions (monitoring, control, system integration).

Regular news on Process Automation and Control topics is presented in the INSIDER monthly newsletter, supplied on subscription by Spitzer and Boyes LLC: Nick Denbow is the European correspondent for the INSIDER. For more information please consult http://www.iainsider.co.uk or http://www.spitzerandboyes.com

UK Profibus User Conference 2013

The Profibus Group, the UK’s leading source of information and support for Profibus and Profinet users has announced preliminary details of the conference programme to be presented at its 20th Anniversary event on 26th June at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Warwickshire.

The conference will open with a State of The (Industrial) Nation address from Brian Holliday, one of the “founding fathers” of The UK’s Profibus Group, addressing factors such as government, manufacturing, industrial infra-structure and skills, and why investment and standards such as  Profibus & Profinet remain key to growth and prosperity.

PI Chairman Karsten Schneider will then present the keynote speech, bringing important news of updates on the technology including Profinet for Process industry applications, performance achievements and the latest developments on such key areas as Profienergy, the organisation’s innovative solution for massive energy-savings during production idle times.

Case Studies

James Powell, author of “Catching the Process Fieldbus” and a regular presenter at previous conferences will present a case study of a customer who has switched from Ex HART to IS Profibus PA utilizing a multi-vendor solution, showing that Profibus PA is not just for large sites and revealing the economics of using PA and IS instead of Ex construction.

Other practical presentations and case studies will be delivered by David Bray of United Utilities on the subject of lightning protection while an expert from BAE Systems submarine division will address key issues of safety and security in systems design and implementation.

Master Classes and Workshops

There will be a number of Master Classes and Workshops, covering matters such as the new Certified Profibus System Designer course. Delivered by the Group’s Technical Officer, Andy Verwer, this presentation shows the need for such certified training and outlines the course content.

Peter Thomas of Control Specialists will discuss how the use of Profinet can take you into the realms of the IT world, which is very different from the one in which control engineers usually operate in. He will show how WireShark can be used as a tool for base lining the operation of your Profinet network and will initially look at normal Internet traffic frames such as ping and web site calls to gain a better understanding of how it can be of benefit.

Other workshops will be presented covering tools and techniques for health checking and trouble shooting, Profibus device configuration and device commissioning using FDT/DTM and EDDL based tools.

Further information about the conference programme and exhibits can be found on the conference web site at www.profibusgroup.com

Yokogawa and McAfee partner for industrial automation IT security

Yokogawa and McAfee have announced the signing of a partnership agreement to offer holistic and value-added IT security solutions for the industrial automation world.

Building on Yokogawa’s strong global track record in delivering control system solutions, and McAfee’s cyber-security expertise, the partnership addresses the imperative of digital threats to industrial control systems.
In particular, the partners will collaborate to offer Yokogawa customers seamless solutions to avoid gaps between different IT systems, across proprietary solutions and expanded communication channels (e. g.  IP, wireless and mobile) and running common operating systems and applications.
The growing number of cyberthreats targeting industrial environments
According to McAfee’s recent threats report, cybercrime, “hacktivism” and cyber-warfare are on the rise worldwide, and are growing ever more sophisticated. Governments, large enterprises, small business, and home users face a wide range of digital threats, and recent prominent cases of industrial sabotage and espionage have escalated these concerns.
Today’s cyber-security threats mean that industrial control system users and suppliers alike must be increasingly vigilant against current and future intrusions, as human safety and environmental impacts are directly at stake.
Special emphasis on industrial environments running critical infrastructure
While today’s process control systems can take advantage of advanced general-purpose IT to reduce costs, improve performance, enable interoperability with APC, MES and other systems, and add other important new capabilities, the very same technologies have made today’s industrial control systems increasingly vulnerable to security intrusions – malicious or otherwise – from both within and outside the plant.
Organisations tasked with running critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, chemical plants, power stations, and water treatment facilities must look at holistic security systems across two disparate, yet interconnected zones: enterprise IT and industrial control systems.
Holistic approach combining Yokogawa’s industrial experience and McAfee’s cybersecurity expertise
McAfee solutions provide resilience, efficient compliance measures, and real-time intelligence for changing threat environments, along with the power of real-time visibility and centralized management through a single platform.The combination of this expertise with Yokogawa’s domain knowledge provides a more holistic approach, resulting in the provision of more value-added industrial automation solutions.
This partnership addresses the issue that industrial process control systems typically have a three to five times longer lifecycle than typical commercial systems. Since both system technology and cyberthreats are ever-changing, automation system suppliers must embrace a life-cycle approach to industrial cyber-security.
“Security measures for control systems are indispensable. Yokogawa is continually making stringent efforts to provide our customers optimum with control system security solutions, starting with the development of highly secure instruments and systems and extending to the provision of operational support services,” said Nobuaki Konishi, Vice President of Yokogawa’s IA Systems Business Division: “This partnership will allow us to combine our technology and plant security knowhow with McAfee’s technology to enhance the security of our products and our line-up of security solution services covering the entire lifecycle of our customers’ plants.  This will include the integration of anti-virus software with industrial control systems used in the process industries”.
“Businesses are looking for integrated security solutions, moving from simply securing components to understanding and measuring the security of a business system as a whole”, said Wahab Yusoff, vice president for McAfee South Asia. “That is why we feel strongly about this opportunity to work with Yokogawa as a leading global supplier of industrial control systems with a history of nearly 100 years of growing expertise and experience.”


Rockwell shows good results in 2012

In November, at the start of the week of their 2012 Automation Fair event in Philadelphia, Keith Nosbuch, chairman and ceo of Rockwell Automation, announced record sales and earnings for FY 2012: he summarized this by saying “We delivered solid results in a challenging environment this year.”

Sales at $6259m were up 4% over the previous year, and organic sales growth was 6%: income at $5.13 per share increased 7%. Nosbuch also commented “While growth rates continued to moderate [in Q4] due to a difficult economic environment, once again every region delivered organic growth. Operating margin expanded by one point [to 18.1%] while we continued to invest for growth. Our EMEA region had a great year with 6% organic growth in the face of a recession.”

The EMEA comment is significant, particularly for US investors worried about Europe, since it contributes 20% of the Rockwell group turnover: good results there were important. Geographically Asia-Pacific is 15% of sales and Latin America 8%, with the rest from the USA and Canada. Obviously the investor community liked what he said, with the share price rising 10% to $78 immediately, and then continuing up to $84 by the calendar year end.

Commenting on the outlook for Rockwell, Nosbusch said, “The sluggish global economy and a weaker solutions backlog are headwinds as we enter fiscal 2013. While we do expect sales to increase next year, the growth will likely be more weighted to the second half. While we can’t control the economy, I believe we are well-positioned to outgrow the market with our innovative technology, domain expertise and thought leadership.”

21st Automation Fair

Rockwell’s 21st annual Automation Fair this year was attended by over 9200 people, attending the seminars, training sessions and industry fora: there were more than 125 exhibitors in the associated exhibition. Separate User Group meetings were held to focus on process solutions and safety system engineering. Around 30 PlantPAx users shared their experience in applying PlantPAx in their automation systems: a major topic discussed was the increasing emergence and use of virtualization technologies in the process industries.

A separate global forum for trade media and analysts, entitled ‘Manufacturing Perspectives’, explored the leading news topics and current trends in manufacturing technology and automation.  A major discussion point covered how cloud solutions can enable flexible manufacturing without compromising security; and explored the potential effects of mobility on manufacturing technologies and practices.

Blake Moret, svp for control products and solutions, presented an analysis showing where the current Rockwell cloud computing users had applied the technology to best effect. The major benefits have been found in services and process analysis tasks that are not real-time requirements, and typically predictive maintenance and energy management services have used cloud computing services effectively. Other systems that offer good potential include operations intelligence, and monitoring systems for environmental or health and safety studies. Rockwell suggest that local control systems will feed production data to cloud services for further analytics and operations intelligence.

This article first appeared in the Industrial Automation INSIDER newsletter for January 2013

CNRL oil and gas resources SCADA system uses pcVue

Canadian Natural Resources needed a better way to manage the process control and monitoring of its oil and natural gas operations, comprising 300 gathering stations, 800 compressor stations, and 150 gas processing facilities. CNRL´s SCADA specialist, Kurtis Jackson, spearheaded an automation project to replace the FactoryLink SCADA systems with pcVue SCADA and FrontVue solutions from ARC Informatique. CNRL has numerous independent automation systems of various brands, including GE and Allen-Bradley PLCs, plus Fisher and Bristol Babcock RTUs: Jackson wanted to centralize and achieve consistency by integrating as many of these automation systems as possible. CNRL started the replacement process by migration of their FactoryLink SCADA to pcVue using the Smart Generator, a pcVue tool that automatically converted a very high proportion (in fact 60-80%) of their existing applications to pcVue, while ensuring maximum compatibility and security. This saved a significant amount of time with not having to reconfigure all the applications, and it meant that CNRL did not have to retrain the users. In addition, CNRL used IMSCADA, a multiprotocol measurement and communication software from CTH Systems, which allowed the wells equipped with different automation devices, such as RTUs or pump on/off controllers, to talk over a single radio channel in order to bring the data back to pcVue SCADA.

This article was first published in the INSIDER newsletter for January 2013.


Metso acquires ExperTune

Metso has acquired the US based software company ExperTune Inc. ExperTune’s products are widely used as software tools to analyze and monitor the performance of industrial processes and to identify the associated maintenance and improvement opportunities.

ExperTune’s acquisition is in line with the Metso strategy to deliver customer value solutions and grow the scope of the services business globally. The acquisition expands and strengthens the Metso ability to globally provide business-enhancing services to customers. ExperTune products will be sold as stand-alone solutions that can be used in any automation system environment and as part of Metso’s performance business solutions, targeted to optimize plant performance.

”The combination of ExperTune products and the Metso services portfolio extends our capability to offer solutions targeted to improving process and business performance,” says Mikko Keto, President, Services, Metso Automation.

”With ExperTune we can provide more versatile and more cost effective customer value solutions to our customers so that they can meet their most pressing business challenges, such as reducing raw material consumption, energy usage, product variability and environmental impact. ExperTune products help our customers to find areas of improvement in their processes to which Metso has customer value solutions,” Keto summarizes.

The Metso services business has developed strongly over the last decade. In 2011, the services share of the company’s turnover was 45 per cent. ExperTune will be integrated into the service business within the Metso Automation segment.

Founded in 1986, ExperTune designs pre-packaged industrial software which help maximizing productivity and efficiency and reduces waste in the process industries worldwide. Its net sales are less than Euro10m. ExperTune is headquartered in the United States in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It has an extensive sales representative network on all continents. ExperTune’s products include PlantTriage, ProcessApex and PID Loop Optimizer.