Last updateTue, 02 Jan 2018 3am

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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Siemens launches Planning and Simulation tool for Profinet networks

Siemens is launching a new software tool on the market for the design and simulation of Profinet automation networks. The Sinetplan network planner from Siemens is aimed at plant designers, constructors and operators and supports them from the planning stage, through commissioning to the operation of a Profinet communication network. In order to ensure subsequent operational reliability and to avoid problems during commissioning, the network is already designed with a suitable topological structure at the planning stage and any possible bottlenecks caused by peak loads, for example, are simulated. In the operating phase, Sinetplan offers transparency about the network capacity up to the port level of the individual stations by means of online scans, traffic shapers or reporting functions. This prevents unnecessary downtimes due to network overload and thus increases the availability of the network and the production.
Sinetplan is used in particular for the planning and operation of Profinet networks that use acyclic data services such as TCP/IP in addition to cyclic real-time communication. Projects already planned in Step 7 are easy to import, and existing systems are scanned online, verified and simulated.

Faulty design or overloading of a Profinet network can compromise the overall application and, in the worst-case scenario, result in loss of production. Using the Sinetplan network planner it is possible to check the operational reliability of a Profinet network while it is still in the planning phase and find out whether a network is topologically suitable, what reserves the selected topological design offers and how you can protect the network against unforeseen peak loads (bursts). To do this, the tool calculates the loading on the network caused by the time-critical Profinet I/O data traffic as well as the acyclic, TCP/IP-based data traffic, e.g. from remotely operated servers, cameras, PCs or web server accessing. Depending on the topology and the connected network stations, the network loads are simulated, highlighting any critical points where network loading is too high. For example, worst-case queue occupancy of the ports and of the connections is calculated in this process. The network topology can then be replanned and a simulation restarted with minimum effort, and the result of the calculation and simulation can be stored in a detailed report.

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Rockwell Automation to Launch “Best Future Machine Award” at interpack 2017

Rockwell Automation will launch a new global award at interpack 2017 that will recognize and reward engineering innovation and machine design that help address the future needs of the demanding manufacturing industry.

With major worldwide end users on the judging panel, the Best Future Machine Award will be an opportunity for machine builders to showcase and discuss their technology in front of some of the industry's most influential companies.

Any company with a machine at the 2017 show that deploys Rockwell Automation products or solutions can enter for a chance to win. A number of subcategories have been established that define the eligibility to enter:

  • Modular Machines – Flexible, Pack Styles, Materials
  • Smart Machines – Safety, Integration, Information, Real-Time Diagnostic, Operating Efficiency and Data Tracking
  • Ease of Use – Intuitive HMI, Simple Troubleshooting, Easy Changeover
  • Sustainability – Reduced Waste Material, Energy Efficiency
  • Traceability and Product Safety – Product Safety, Serialization, Sanitary Design, Product Tracking

"Interpack is the perfect event for showcasing innovation. In addition to addressing the needs of one of the most demanding markets globally, many exhibitors use the show to launch their latest innovations and machines. We are always impressed with the level of technological advancement we see at the event, and we felt that it was time to recognize these achievements with an award specifically for innovation," said Urs Marti, director for Industries – EMEA, Rockwell Automation.

"This award also fits perfectly with the programs we offer machine builders at interpack, including co-marketing, product availability and on-site technical show support. If 2014 is anything to go by, we know we are going to have a tough job picking a winner. In 2014, there were 220 machines equipped with Rockwell Automation products and solutions, and in 2017, we anticipate this number will nearly double. All of these machines are eligible for entry."

Nominations for the "Best Future Machine Award" need to be submitted by Oct. 31, 2016, and the finalists will be shortlisted by the end of December 2016. A prestigious panel representing leading, global end users and a number of in-country industry associations will judge the winners in each of the categories. An overall winner will then be selected. Winners will be announced at the Rockwell Automation VIP Evening and featured in all promotional activities after the show.

Comparing FMEDA Predicted Failure Rates to OREDA

exida has released a new white paper entitled: Comparing FMEDA Predicted Failure Rates to OREDA - Estimated Failure Rates for Sensor and Valve Assemblies.

Failure rates predicted by Failure Modes Effects and Diagnostic Analysis (FMEDA) are compared to failure rates estimated from the Offshore Reliability Data (OREDA) project for sensor and valve assemblies. Because the two methods of data analysis are fundamentally different in nature, it may be surprising that, when appropriately compared, the results from the two methods are generally quite similar. The nature of the published data for FMEDA and OREDA is explored. The relative merits of each method are discussed.

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Faurecia Improves Supply Chain Visibility with Industrial IoT Technology from Kepware

Kepware Technologies, a software development company acquired by PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) in January 2016, today announced that Faurecia, one of the world’s largest automotive equipment suppliers, has implemented Kepware’s IoT Gateway for KEPServerEX® to improve parts traceability throughout the entire manufacturing process—satisfying the needs of customers and internal stakeholders.

The new IoT implementation began with requirements from leading automotive OEMs to improve traceability for the parts Faurecia was producing and to make that production data available on demand. To meet these requirements, Faurecia needed a solution that could connect the various PLCs on the factory floor to IJ Core, its proprietary parts fabrication and Manufacturing Execution System (MES). After careful research, Kepware’s KEPServerEX connectivity platform with the IoT Gateway was selected.

Since implementing the IoT Gateway, Faurecia is able to provide customers with the product traceability they require. Increased supply chain visibility enables the world’s largest automotive OEMs to satisfy regulatory requirements and improve overall product quality for consumers.

Internal Faurecia stakeholders are benefiting as well. Operators on the machine floor note that communications are much faster, and the Quality Assurance department has the industrial data they need in order to analyze production quality. Additionally, executives in Faurecia’s boardroom can now access and leverage Operations data to boost efficiencies across the organization.

Given the ease of implementation and overall success of the Porto Real, Brazil pilot, Faurecia plans to standardize on Kepware in its North American, Asian, and European factories in 2016.

“We see huge potential with the IoT Gateway and are excited to deploy it across the 34 countries we operate in,” said Rafael Unruh, Competence Center Manager, Faurecia. “We’re seeing benefits from this implementation from the boardroom down to the shop floor, and only expect them to increase as more locations utilize it. We’re able to be smarter and more nimble in our decision making, which leads to better products and services for our customers.”

Exida SILAlarm V2.10 - Alarm Flood Suppression

The ISA-18.2 and IEC 62682 alarm management standards provide recommended targets for average alarm rate and for alarm floods - a condition during which the alarm rate is greater than the operator can effectively manage (e.g., more than 10 alarm per 10 mins) Ref ISA-18.2. During alarm floods the chance of an operator missing an alarm or making a mistake is increased. The following table taken from IEC 61511 shows how the reliability of humans is impacted by stress.
Consequently, alarm floods reduce the effectiveness of alarms used as safeguards or independent protection layers and increase the chances of process safety incidents.

Alarm rationalization is typically effective at reducing average alarm rate. To alleviate alarm floods, advanced alarming techniques such as alarm flood suppression may be required. Exida SILAlarm™ provides the ability to define and document alarm flood suppression requirements so that they can be implemented in the control system. For DeltaV users, alarm flood suppression can be configured automatically in DeltaV via bulk edit from SILAlarm using new modules created by Emerson and exida.

SILAlarm provides the ability to define alarm flood suppression requirements systematically via a standard interface.

  • Trigger conditions (required and / or voted) and associated logical expressions (for implementation in the control system)
  • Maximum Suppression Time
  • Unsuppression Behavior (Unsuppress all, Unsuppress none, Unsuppress Inactive alarms only)
  • Common Alarm for annunciation to the operator (when other alarms are suppressed)
  • Alarms to be suppressed*
  • Suppressed priority (to change the alarm priority dynamically during a flood)
  • Audit & Enforce changes detected in the control system configuration
  • Management of Change
  • Description text: Group, Required, Voted conditions for display on HMI faceplates and graphic screens.

Yokogawa Control System Improves Production Efficiency at Lubricant Plant in SFC Excellence

SFC Excellence Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of The Siam Chemicals Public Company (SCC), was found in 1975 and has registered capital of 70 million baht. SFC Excellence is exceptionally well-known for its manufacturing products and considered to be one of the largest importers of base oil and lube oil manufacturing (toll blenders) in Thailand. SFC Excellence is able to produce the best quality of lubricants for automotive and machineries in industrial usage with a total capacity of 10 million liters per month.

SFC Excellence has been certified ISO9001 since 2003 and ISO/TS16949 since 2008 for its own manufacture of lubrication oil. SFC Excellence is responsible to produce many types of OEM oil brands from the UK, Germany, Japan, including Thailand etc. SFC Excellence provides itself with a research laboratory performing a variety of scientific research and quality control.

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Schneider Electric signs agreements to open more French South African Education centres

Schneider Electric will collaborate with four South African higher learning institutions and the French Ministry of National Education to provide state-of-the-art equipments to train disadvantaged young South Africans in the field of energy.

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, signed agreements with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, College of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg and Sedibeng College for the establishment of four training centres, in partnership with the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Schneider Electric France, Schneider Electric South Africa and the Schneider Electric Foundation. The signature ceremony was held on March 4, 2016, at the Schneider Electric Midrand Campus in Gauteng, in presence of Her Excellency Elizabeth Barbier, French Ambassador to South Africa, Marianne de Brunhoff, Director of European and International Affairs of the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, and Eric Leger, President of Schneider Electric South Africa.

As part of these partnerships, the training centres will be called French South African Schneider Electric Education Centre (FSASEC), with the primary focus to train disadvantaged young South Africans in the field of energy. These agreements are building on the success of Schneider Electric’s first French South African Schneider Electric Education Centre (FSASEC), hosted by Vaal University of Technology since four years and piloted by Alexandre Sebastiani, the French expert from the French Ministry of of National Education, Higher Education and Research. This deployment is part of a worldwide programme lead by the French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research and the Schneider Electric Foundation to create a network of Schneider Electric training centres in Southern Africa and all over the world, as in South America, India and Asia. The additional South African centres bring the total to 30 Schneider Electric training centres around the world.

“Schneider Electric is pleased to sign these new partnership agreements with such esteemed South African higher learning institutions. We need to have more students trained in the field of energy in South Africa. These four agreements are key to accelerate vocational training in the field of energy across the country for previously disadvantaged students”, said Eric Leger.

Yokogawa to Commence Production of Differential Pressure/Pressure Transmitters in India

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces that Yokogawa India, a wholly owned subsidiary, will launch production on March 28 of a principal Yokogawa field instrument product line, the DPharp EJA-E series differential pressure/pressure transmitters.

The decision to launch production in India comes in response to a rising demand for control devices in this market, which has been driven in part by Indian government policies that seek to foster stable growth in the mid-to-long term through the promotion of projects for the construction of oil, petrochemical, and power plants and other types of industrial infrastructure. The launch of production in India will allow Yokogawa to better meet the needs of its Indian customers by, for example, speeding up product delivery and providing customized solutions.

To start, three DPharp EJA-E series products that are in particularly strong demand will be produced in India, and other products may be added at a later date. Already one of the largest suppliers of differential pressure/pressure transmitters in India, Yokogawa aims to capitalize on the high growth in this market to expand the scale of its business. In India, the company is targeting the annual production of 100,000 units by fiscal year 2020.

Differential pressure/pressure transmitters measure pressure, flow rate, and liquid level, and play an important role in the oil, petrochemical, chemical, iron and steel, power, and other industries in processes that involve the handling of liquids, vapors, and gases. Globally, some 300 billion yen worth of these products are sold each year, making this the largest segment in the field instrument market*. In addition to our production in Japan of core components and finished differential pressure/pressure transmitters for the global market, we have been producing these transmitters in China, the United States, Bahrain, Singapore, and Brazil. Following our launch of differential pressure/pressure transmitter production in India, we have a plan to introduce production of these products in Russia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.
* Based on a March 2016 Yokogawa survey