Last updateMon, 27 Aug 2018 3am

National Instruments Celebrates 40 Years of Innovation

National Instruments , the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, will recognize four decades of innovation in 2016. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the company’s founding, the City of Austin has proclaimed May 14, 2016 to be NI Day. To celebrate, NI invites the Austin community to enjoy a free day at the Thinkery, where the next generation of engineers and scientists can learn, explore and innovate.

The Thinkery will be free and open to the public on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. NI has proudly supported the Thinkery for many years because of their shared mission to provide engaging and educational STEM programs for the next generation of creative problem solvers.

“We are honored by the recognition of NI Day from the mayor’s office and the Austin community,” said Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of NI. “Since founding NI in Austin four decades ago, community has always been an important part of our culture. We will continue our support by sharing the excitement of engineering, science and technology for decades to come.”

Since the company was founded in 1976, NI technologies have helped engineers and scientists solve numerous engineering challenges and make a lasting impact on society. The billion dollar company now employs more than 2,500 Austin-area residents and operates in nearly 50 countries around the world.

“Austin has innovation in its DNA, and NI is a big reason why,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “A global technology industry leader with deep Austin rootsand a long history of giving to the community and empowering students in STEM education, NI is a true role model in Austin. As such, I am proud to declare May 14, 2016 as the official NI Day, recognizing the company’s pioneering technological advancements and leadership position in our increasingly connected world.”

Rockwell Automation Collaborates with Cisco to Enhance Industrial Internet of Things Security

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to deliver value from connecting plant-floor devices to the enterprise, security remains an ongoing challenge. Today, IT systems leverage firewalls to monitor security risks on the IT network. These IT firewalls are not aware of industrial protocols used on the plant floor – limiting the ability to minimize risk throughout the entire network. In response, Cisco and Rockwell Automation have collaborated to develop a deep-packet-inspection (DPI) technology for use in industrial security appliances.

An industrial firewall with DPI technology extends visibility down to the plant floor, enables logging of traffic patterns, and provides the opportunity for informed decision-making following a set of security policies. Users can log a range of data for any network connection or protocol, such as EtherNet/IP, including where the traffic is coming from, where it is going and with which application it is associated. While IT managers previously had this visibility, now both plant and IT managers can use this technology to more securely manage network traffic from the plant to the enterprise.

When used between industrial and cell/area zones in a Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architecture, a plant-floor application using DPI technology has the ability to instruct a firewall to deny firmware downloads to a controller. This guards against tampering with firmware and helps protect the integrity of the operation. Only an authorized user would be able to conduct the download.

"Security on the plant floor continues to be a top concern for manufacturers and industrial operators as they build a Connected Enterprise," said Juergen Weinhofer, vice president, common architecture and technology, Rockwell Automation. "DPI technology combines our unmatched automation and information control expertise with that of Cisco, the industry leader in IT security, to enhance security for new and existing industrial control systems."

"With this security addition to our joint portfolio and architectures, we can help eliminate the ‘air gap' or ‘security by obscurity' that leads to false confidence of safety and security," said Doug Bellin, global industries lead, Cisco. "We can track all network connections in real time and react when issues arise. This is another case of the best of IT and the best of operations coming together to solve a real need."

Through the strategic alliance collaboration between Rockwell Automation and Cisco, manufacturers can benefit from the sharing of proven security best practices from the IT space made possible for the plant floor and industrial environment. DPI technology will be brought to market in industrial network devices from both Rockwell Automation and Cisco in 2016.
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Yokogawa to Supply Turbine Control Systems for Thermal Power Plant

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces that it has received an order to supply turbine control systems for thermal power plant No. 4, the largest thermal power plant in Mongolia. This 2.1 billion yen project is being undertaken to improve the efficiency of this facility's operations.

Located in Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar, thermal power plant No. 4 has a total capacity of 703 MW and accounts for approximately 70% of the electricity output to the central energy system in Mongolia. The plant also supplies 1,373 Gcal/h (12,000 t/h) of hot water for the district heating system in Ulaanbaatar, meeting about 65% of the city's heating demand. Temperatures in this region fall as low as -40℃ in mid-winter, so this power plant is a crucial lifeline for the city's residents.

This project, which is financed by a Japanese ODA loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will improve the efficiency of power generation and stabilize the supply of electricity and hot water by this plant. For six of the plant's turbines, obsolete mechanical speed governors will be converted to electronic governors, and control systems and instrumentation will be replaced. In addition to supplying the CENTUM® VP integrated production control system for the control and monitoring of the turbine governors and auxiliary facilities such as the feed water pump control system, Yokogawa will provide field devices such as DPharp EJA series differential pressure/pressure transmitters, FLXA21/FLXA202 liquid analyzers, control valves, and safety valves. Yokogawa will also have full responsibility for the implementation of this renovation project, starting with the survey of existing facilities and proceeding through to the detailed design, delivery, and installation of instruments, related erection work, commissioning, and staff training. This work will proceed in stages, and the first of the renovated turbines is scheduled to be returned to service in June 2017.

Through orders that it received in 1997 and 2003, Yokogawa also provided control systems as part of a project to renovate the boilers and related instrumentation at this power plant. Consequently, all of these facilities are monitored and controlled by Yokogawa CENTUM® series integrated production control systems. As the result of these renovations, this power station was able to reduce its coal consumption by more than 20% over the 1997 to 2007 timeframe. Thanks to the trust that it has established with this plant customer over the past 20 years, Yokogawa was awarded the contract for this turbine control renovation project. A company subsidiary, Yokogawa Engineering Asia, will play a leading role in this undertaking.

Rockwell Automation Expands Motion Control Business

Rockwell Automation has recently announced it has expanded its motion control business by completing the acquisition of MagneMotion, a leading manufacturer of patented, high-performance conveyor systems with servo-controlled independent cart technology. The addition of this new offering will integrate into existing Rockwell Automation control, safety and sensing solutions to help manufacturers more safely, quickly and easily transport products and heavy loads between machines and throughout a plant.

Developed by Ph.D.-level researchers from MIT, the MagneMotion systems are designed for applications of almost any length, speed and thrust requirements, with no cables limiting the motion of the vehicle or moving frame. With linear synchronous motor technology, the systems help manufacturers achieve higher throughput and greater flexibility to run a variety of products through and between machines.

This is the second major investment made by Rockwell Automation to build its motion control business; in 2014, the company acquired Jacobs Automation and its iTRAK system. “This innovative technology complements our current offering and is particularly useful for customers in automotive manufacturing and general assembly, packaging, and medical device manufacturing, where there is a significant need for careful and precise >movement of many different products and parts,” said Marco Wishart, vice president and general manager, motion control business, Rockwell Automation. “The acquisition allowsRockwell Automation to expand its motion control offering in additional regions and use its global infrastructure to support this business as it continues to grow,” Wishart added.

By augmenting its motion control offering with high-performance conveyor systems that can be fully integrated with its existing products, Rockwell Automation aims to complement and strengthen its market position, increase its domain expertise, and further expand its technology offering for collaborators and customers worldwide.

“We look forward to helping Rockwell Automation customers capture the benefits of using advanced motion control solutions in their plants and across their machine network,” said Todd Webber, general manager of MagneMotion.
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Rockwell Automation secures Preferred Partner Agreement

The Michelin Group has awarded a four-year contract to Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) that designates the industrial automation and information company as the preferred provider to all the Michelin Group’s factories worldwide.

The agreement extends to the Rockwell Automation industrial automation, power, control, industrial software and services offerings. The Michelin Group will use these solutions to gradually leverage performance of their industrial assets, and to design next-generation machines.

“Innovation in mobility is at the heart of growth and urban well-being, and Rockwell Automation’s winning technologies make this a reality for Michelin,” said the vice president of capex procurement for The Michelin Group. “We are pleased to designate Rockwell Automation as a preferred partner, resulting from our long, successful partnership. We look forward to Rockwell Automation providing us with the innovative products and high-value solutions that we’ve come to expect.”

“We’re honored to receive this preferred partner agreement,” said Thomas Donato, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Rockwell Automation. “It caps a 35-year relationship with Michelin marked by innovative collaboration. Thank you to Michelin for being a great customer and partner.”

The Rockwell Automation global resource network includes a global account team near Michelin headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France and offices near Michelin plants in Greenville, South Carolina, and Shanghai. They support day-to-day operations and service to Michelin’s manufacturing facilities.
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