Agilent expands its local calibration presence

Owners of Agilent electronic measurement instruments in Phoenix, Arizona, are to benefit from Agilent Technologies’ new calibration centre.

At the centre, measurements will be performed using OEM procedures for every warranted specification.

“We were excited by the outpouring of customer interest in local Agilent calibration service at our grand opening event,” said Eric Taylor, vice president of Agilent’s Service Solutions for the Americas. “We are committed to expanding our local calibration presence.”

The opening of the Phoenix Local Calibration Centre comes only two months after the opening of the Greater Toronto Area Local Calibration Center. Between Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States, Agilent now operates four major hubs (repair and calibration), nine local calibration centers and 13 mobile calibration teams. In addition, 14 Agilent technicians are co-located on customer sites with calibration labs.

AMETEK Process Instruments wins $4.6 million gas analyser contract

A contract to supply UV process gas analysers for the Sulfur Recovery Units (SRU) and Tail Gas Treating Units (TGTU) at the Abu Dhabi Gas Development Company’s  (Al Hosn Gas) Shah Gas Field project in the United Arab Emirates has been awarded to AMETEK Process Instruments. The contract is valued at approximately $4.6 million.

The $10-billion Shah Gas Field project, located approximately 120 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, is scheduled for completion in late 2014. The project is among the largest green field gas development projects ever under taken and is expected to process approximately one billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of sour gas into 0.5 bcf/d of usable gas.

When completed, its SRU-TGTU complex is expected to be the largest in the world. Each of the SRU’s four processing trains is so large that it will require twin reaction furnaces with three tail gas analyzers per train, making the project the largest single order for tail gas analyzers ever. With additional associated analyzers, the SRU will have seven AMETEK analyzers per train for a total of 28 analysers.

The Shah Gas Field’s extensive gas reservoirs have not been developed previously due to challenging operating conditions.  The field’s sour gas contains an average of 23 percent hydrogen sulfide and 10 percent carbon dioxide. At those concentrations, the gas is able to corrode metals, poses a hazard to plant safety and requires extensive processing. 

The project includes installation of the following Western Research analysers:

• 12 Model 900 Air Demand Analyzers. The Model 900 was developed specifically to meet the requirements of the latest sulfur recovery processes. The versatile unit measures up to five species simultaneously, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur dioxide (S2O), carbonyl sulfide (COS), carbon disulfide (CS2) and sulfur vapor (Sv). Used in conjunction with an Advanced Sulfur Removal (ASR) 900 sampling probe, the Model 900 ensures maximum data availability for optimum operation of all sulfur recovery processes.

• 12 Model 931 Single-Gas Analyzers. The Model 931 is a rugged, single-component photometric gas analyzer housed in an explosion-proof package designed for a variety of gas monitoring and process control applications. It utilizes AMETEK’s proprietary high-resolution UV technology in a dual-beam, dual-wavelength configuration that features no moving parts. Typical applications include measurement of hydrogen, H2S COS, and CS2.and other applications in the SRU-TGTU process.

• Four Model 930 H2S Vapor Space Analyzers.  The Model 930 was developed to accurately measure H2S vapor in pits used to store liquid sulfur. The vapor poses a potential danger to plant operation and personnel and must be carefully monitored. The Model 930 utilizes AMETEK’s proprietary high-resolution UV technology and is field-proven to reliably monitor both H2S and SO2.

Keighley Labs highlights the importance of inspecting pre-production components in the oil, gas and marine industries

Publicised catastrophic failures of forged materials in deepwater applications have called into question the structural integrity of such products and focused industry attention on the need for carefully-managed ‘integrity management’ of key components.

Errors in material selection at the design stage, the use of incorrect heat treatment techniques and inconsistent mechanical testing regimes, often involving test pieces not taken from the actual components, can lead to product failures during operation, typically resulting in significant environmental, safety and financial costs.

With suppliers to the oil & gas and marine industries appreciating the need for integrity management of deep sea components to prevent expensive failures or prolonged shutdowns, Yorkshire-based independent heat treatment and metallurgical testing specialist Keighley Laboratories is experiencing an upturn in demand for first article inspection of pre-production components.

It is a preventative measure that the company believes could be adopted more widely, especially with the life expectancy of products extending from ten years to 25 years or more, often in extremely harsh and corrosive environments.

Leonard Stott, customer support manager for Keighley Labs’ Technical Services division, said: “More than ever there is a definite requirement for proven product reliability and fitness-for-purpose, as well as a need for consistent mechanical and corrosion properties that can only be achieved by applying the correct processing and heat treatment techniques. Also, product testing procedures need to be accurate, not least the correct positioning and orientation of test sample pieces, to ensure optimum and consistent test values.

“It would be costly for suppliers to set up the necessary in-house procedures to ensure critical mistakes don’t happen, so it is worthwhile sub-contracting the metallurgical testing of components to independent experts like ourselves.”

Keighley is a specialist in the analysis, testing and heat treatment of metals, holding many leading quality accreditations relevant to various industry sectors.

It was the catastrophic failure of a mooring shackle in the Gulf of Mexico and a second incident involving two sockets in another mooring system, which highlighted faults in the original heat treatment process as a likely cause. A subsequent report by the US Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) concluded that defective heat treatment during component processing resulted in a metal unable to meet Charpy impact test requirements for material toughness and that testing parameters were either not followed or not adequate to ensure specifications were met.

The MMS recommended that operators should revise their specifications to make sure that testing and manufacturing produces a satisfactory product, which will meet future usage demands. It also commented that operators should review their requirements for both destructive and non-destructive testing of critical elements, as well as ensuring that test coupons, or pieces, are properly representative.

It was later found that the test pieces were not samples taken from the actual product and subsequent research indicated the importance of sample positioning in achieving representative and consistent toughness values. Thus, while energy absorption in a longitudinal orientation achieved a satisfactory 70-80 joules, the same test in the transverse direction recorded a disastrously low 4 joules. It was also easier for a smaller test piece of 2” cross-section to pass the impact test, rather than a larger, more representative section.

NASA and its partners celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Mars Rover Curiosity landing


August 6th: the date that turned every space science Ph.D. into a giddy teenager. Glued to YouTube, our eyes fixated, we waited. And then, with two words, every confidence in NASA was restored. The Mars Rover Curiosity landed. 

Eruptions of applause filled JPL’s control room, followed by a string of hugs. That wave of elation wasn’t about individual glory; it was about taking a dream and turning it into a reality. And here we are, one year forward, still basking.

As a partner in this mission, FUTEK developed two sensors – a cryogenic multi-axial sensor and a cryogenic thru-hole load cell – to operate aboard the rover. Celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Mars Rover Curiosity, the company is beyond ecstatic with the advancements accomplished by NASA and JPL.

It’s amazing how much NASA have achieved in 55 years. We may call Pixar and DreamWorks visionaries in making dreams reality, but NASA is the genuine article. Movies allowed us to see a man walking on the moon, but NASA made us believe it.

There’s an air of esteem associated with this program. It turned science into a celebrity. But unlike its contemporaries, NASA gained praise and recognition for intellect, ingenuity, and innovation. It wasn’t mere happenstance that the world grew to know this four-letter acronym so well. It was through the breach of boundaries that NASA became famous.

But even beyond the fame, at the very heart of NASA there’s an eternal enthusiasm that new discoveries always await. And so, as we embark on another year of canvasing the Martian world, we can only say: “I wonder what we will uncover next?”

Web-based low level measurement seminar available on-demand

Keithley Instruments’ free, web-based seminar –  ‘Techniques for Making Successful Low Level DC Measurements’is available for on-demand viewing.

The seminar describes the basics of low current electrical measurements, including how to select the right current measurement instrument, practical ways to reduce current noise in measurement setups, and how to quantify subtle sources of noise.

During the seminar, participants will learn how to:

• Determine if the application requires low level measurements

• Avoid common sources of noise and error

• Solve speed limitations

• Know when to select a specialized or a general purpose instrument

The presenter is Jennifer Cheney, staff applications engineer at Keithley Instruments.

To register for on-demand viewing of this webinar, please visit


Art conservators and scientists to learn advanced techniques for analysing artifacts using state-of-the-art instruments

Agilent Technologies has announced that it is supplying state-of-the-art instruments and software for a workshop on Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer at Yale University.

At the workshop, an international group of art conservators and scientists are learning advanced techniques in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to help them analyse lacquer and a broad range of other trace-level compounds found in Asian lacquer artifacts.

Careful analysis of lacquer can reveal a wealth of information about the age and geographical origins of the components, and also address the authenticity of the artifact. Modern coatings that aim to imitate lacquer are composed of various mixtures of polymers and pigments and can also be characterized using GC/MS techniques.

 “We were very excited when our Getty Conservation Institute colleagues approached us last year about the opportunity to co-host a workshop that focuses on the latest advances in the characterization of Asian lacquers,” said Anikó Bezur, director of scientific research at the Yale center. “The creation of such professional advancement opportunities for conservators and conservation scientists is a core mission of ours, and we are grateful for Agilent’s support that made the workshop possible and for the enthusiasm its team has expressed for our research and outreach efforts.”

The five-day workshop, based on the Getty Conservation Institute’s research on Asian lacquers, was developed in partnership with the Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Frontier Laboratories’ pyrolysis technology used in this workshop is provided by Quantum Analytics.

Alrad appointed British representative for Apogee scientific cameras

Alrad has signed an agreement to sell the Apogee range of scientific cameras in the British Isles.

Ian Alderton, sales director, commented: “The Apogee product range is an exciting addition to our already extensive portfolio and gives us the opportunity to offer an even greater selection of camera products to our customers. We are very proud to be able to offer the Apogee range of products in the British Isles and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship between the two companies which we are sure will benefit many of our customers”.

The Aspen series is the newest in design innovation from Apogee Imaging Systems. Aspen increases cooling performance in a smaller package, improves stray light baffling, adds a Network interface with a built-in web server, supports dual output CCDs up to 16Mhz and sets a new standard in shutter reliability.

Instrumentation magazine celebrates 45 years in print!

The July/August issue of Instrumentation magazine is celebrating the Anniversary of when the magazine was launched – in 1968. View the digital issue here!

Over the last 45 years, instrumentation technology has changed beyond recognition. As a result, this special Anniversary issue looks back on 45 years of technology – from sensors and non-contact measurement, to gas monitoring solutions, data acquisition and torque monitoring.

Readers will also be able to find out about present day solutions, and discover what can be expected during the next few years.

Fill in the form here to receive printed or digital versions of Instrumentation.

Analysers enable fast measurement of water activity in perishable food and pharmaceutical products

Water activity in perishable foods and pharmaceutical products influences their shelf life, affecting such properties as the quality, stability, taste and aroma. Now, however, product samples can be analysed quickly – typically in less than five minutes – using Rotronic’s water activity analysers and probes.

Of additional benefit to users, the probes can be exchanged rapidly when calibration is due – no adjustment is needed due to the digital interface.

One example is the benchtop HygroClip 2 version of the company’s laboratory grade water activity analyser with AirChip3000 digital technology – the HygroLab C1. This instrument features four interchangeable probe units, which enable sensing stations and insertion probes to be connected for simultaneous Aw measurements to indicate product quality.

 The HygrolabC1 is available in a set that includes the benchtop Aw instrument, HW4 validated software, sensing station, a sample holder, sample liners and humidity standards so users can check sensor performance. The HW4 software, which is FDA 21 CFR Part II, enables remote monitoring on a PC, with measurements available graphically and in tabular form.

Also available from the company are portable Aw analysers designed for fast offline process checks and for goods inwards product quality assurance, including a handheld version with interchangeable probe, and a sensing station that connects via USB to a PC running the HW4 software.


T: 01293 571000                     

State-of-the art lab opened for wireless communications teaching and research

Agilent Technologies and Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork have opened a state-of-the-art laboratory for research and teaching in next-generation wireless communications.

The new laboratory will enable advanced training and research on radio frequency integrated circuits for high-speed wireless data communications for video applications and contactless sensors for biomedical and security applications.

The laboratory is named after the 1909 Nobel prize-winning Italian scientist, Guglielmo Marconi, who moved to Ireland in to carry out his research. 

“We welcome the €800,000 investment from Agilent and the Higher Education Authority of Ireland, in the Marconi Laboratory at Tyndall,” said Kieran Drain, CEO Tyndall National Institute. “This laboratory houses the latest industry-standard equipment and will ensure that the research team and students led by Dr. Domenico Zito continue the excellent work in emerging RF Communications at Tyndall.

Tyndall researcher and Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Lecturer, Dr. Domenico Zito, said: “Having a laboratory equipped with a unique set of Agilent instruments for high-frequency, low-noise measurements up to 110 GHz is of great value to our researchers and students. We are very grateful to Agilent for their donation in CAD tools and instruments and the HEA) investment in establishing the Marconi Lab as a worldwide centre of excellence in low-noise, high-frequency measurements.”

The equipment in the lab includes a four-port PNA-X with ultra-low-noise receiver and five extension modules; a signal source analyzer with microwave down-converter and six extension modules; a millimetre-wave source module; and a small arsenal of very expensive cables, devices and units, up to 110 GHz.