News

NMI continues its acquisition strategy with UK bolt-on of Chamois Metrology

The Netherlands Measurement Institute, NMi, has acquired Chamois Metrology, a leader in UKAS-accredited calibration and instrument supply solutions. The acquisition is part of NMi’s acquisition strategy, which began last year with UK-based Young Calibration.

Headquartered in Warwickshire, England, Chamois Metrology is an experienced, UKAS-accredited provider of pressure, electrical, mass, dimensional, and temperature calibration services. Offering solutions for calibration and measurement instruments, Chamois Metrology works closely with many leading manufacturers, including AccuMac, Additel, Aremeca, Fluke Test Tools, and Zwiebel.

Yvo Jansen, NMi CEO, says: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to increase our UK footprint once again and to work with the skilled and highly experienced team at Chamois. This acquisition adds to our portfolio of capabilities, and we can now offer a far wider scope of calibration services to our customers across Europe and the UK. The Chamois team are experts across multiple sectors, bolstered by technical knowledge, quality processes, and impressive facility capacities.”

Chamois Metrology also runs a range of calibration training courses designed to enable laboratory, inspection, quality assurance, maintenance, and certification personnel to meet the increasing need to demonstrate competence.

Neil Morgan, CEO of Chamois Metrology, says: “Yvo and the team at NMi are providing Chamois with a great opportunity to continue growing as part of a large and well-respected metrology business. The synergies, resources, and leadership NMi bring, coupled with strategic collaboration, will enable Chamois to extend our customer reach both in the UK and overseas markets.”

ABB publishes ABB Review, focused on digital solutions

ABB has released the 2/2022 edition of ABB Review, the company’s technical journal. ABB Review has been in continuous publication since 1914, making it one of the longest-running corporate journals of any kind. A perennial source of technical inspiration and education, ABB Review presents some of the company’s most cutting-edge innovations across scientific and technological domains in a raft of commercial and industrial contexts, setting out the unique point of view of ABB researchers, engineers and technicians on key technology trends and topics. Recent editions have covered subjects like logistics, assets and connectivity and machines with intelligence.

The new issue focuses squarely on the ABB Ability portfolio of solutions, a collection of more than 170 industrial IoT offerings from ABB serving commercial and industrial customers in a wide range of settings. Combining software innovation with connectivity, ABB Ability helps the company’s customers to undertake billions of better decisions across the enterprise to drive greater productivity, enhance agility and lower emissions. Some of the stories in the new edition of the journal touch on the role of the industrial IoT in empowering improved marine navigation, water management, asset performance management and energy efficiency.

“I am pleased that this quarter’s edition of ABB Review is dedicated to all things ABB Ability,” writes ABB CEO Björn Rosengren in the issue’s opening pages. “Whether it’s enabling more autonomous operations in oceangoing vessels, tapping into the potential of digital switchgear and real-time energy management, or using machine learning and edge-based analytics to optimise performance in asset-intensive industries, ABB Ability solutions are powering new ways to work for safer, smarter and more sustainable operations.”

Though ABB Review is one of the longest-running corporate technical magazines in the world, it continues to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of its broad readership. For example, a few years ago, the Review’s editorial staff freshened the look of the journal with a more reader-friendly presentation of stories, engaging graphics and strong visuals. Now the team is again looking at how the needs and preferences of today’s readership have changed. Do they want to receive ABB Review more frequently? Do they prefer to read it online or in print form? Are there any topics in which readers are especially interested? To better understand this evolving landscape, readers are invited to complete a short survey that can help steer editorial decisions for future issues of ABB Review.

What can ASICs do for the smart cities of the future?

According to the United Nations, we can expect 68 per cent of the global population to live in urban areas by 2050. To cope with this increase, cities are focusing on the use of technology to improve equity for residents, facilitate more sustainable living and encourage better use of resources. Here Richard Mount, Director of Sales at ASIC design and supply company Swindon Silicon Systems, explores the sensor-driven technologies that enable smart cities, and the Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that support them.

Istanbul, Turkey ranked as the number one congested city in the world in 2021, as reported by the TomTom Traffic Index, with drivers in the city losing an average of 142 hours per year to traffic jams. With increasing populations and a limited amount of space, modern cities like Istanbul need to rethink how they plan and manage several aspects of city life if they’re to create more streamlined, enjoyable environments for their citizens.

To combat urban inefficiencies, many countries are making their cities ‘smarter’ by harnessing data to manage assets, resources and services — ultimately aiming to improve operations across the city. Above all, a smart city must be informed by those who commute, work, live and socialise there. Collecting data is vital in understanding how a city can best serve the needs of its citizens.

The world is turning to Internet of Things (IoT) technology to achieve these smart cities. Data collected by sensor-rich IoT devices is analysed by cities in real-time and used to improve many aspects of critical infrastructure. Intelligence provided by smart city technology enables enhanced services capable of anticipating user’s needs, reducing public spending and increasing sustainability.

Smart sensors

Generally, smart city technology architecture can be divided into four layers. First is the sensing layer, which uses sensors to generate data. Then there is the network layer, which consists of the hardware and software resources that enable network connectivity and communication. The data layer receives and stores vast amounts of data and finally the service layer interprets this information in an intelligent and usable way.

Digitalisation and advancements in the IoT are driving large-scale adoption of sensor technologies across cities. It allows cities to collect data from citizens, buildings and assets that can be processed to monitor and manage everything from traffic and transportation systems to crime detection. Technologies such as artificial intelligence and high-speed internet networks are being integrated with sensor networks to enhance data collection further.

Smart utilities

A wide variety of sensors must be employed to collect all the information necessary for a smart city to function effectively. For example, smart meters can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs among utilities. Meters that measure voltage, amperage and power factor can monitor electricity consumption, while positive displacement-type sensors detect water usage.

Smart meters enable consumers to monitor their own usage and make individual-level changes to prevent waste and cut costs. Utility companies can also see consumption patterns and implement plans to improve efficiency. For example, electricity companies often offer incentives to shift demand to match peaks in power generation. A network of smart water meters in a piping system can be used to obtain an accurate water balance, helping to find leaks and manage resources where demand exceeds supply.

Reducing congestion

Looking to the future, we can expect smart cities to adopt even more sensor-driven technology. When driving, humans tend to speed up to meet the car in front of them, resulting in phantom traffic jams. By maintaining a consistent speed and distance from other cars, automated vehicles may provide an opportunity to reduce congestion in smart cities.

Autonomous vehicles would be impossible without sensors — radar sensors send out radio waves that detect objects and gauge their proximity to neighbouring vehicles in real time, while Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) sensors use lasers to create 3D images of the detected objects and map the surroundings.

Custom ICs

The signals generated by smart sensors can be digital but are more commonly analogue values, such as voltage or current. To interface with the network layer and facilitate data analytics, these analogue values must be conditioned and digitised. This can be achieved using numerous off-the-shelf integrated circuits (ICs). However, where original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) want to differentiate themselves, both technically and commercially, from their competition, ASICs are often a better route to take.

An ASIC is a custom device designed specifically for the customer’s application, resulting in a chip designed to deliver an optimised performance exactly to their specific requirements. Smart cities employ sensors in a wide variety of applications and mixed signal ASIC design allows for investment in performance where it matters for each particular use. Swindon will be able to optimise the entire signal path down to the finest detail, while removing unnecessary features to reduce cost.

Smart sensors must be compact, use as little power as possible and remain reliable at all times. When designing an ASIC, the developers integrate as much of the circuitry as possible into a single package. This reduces component count, resulting in higher reliability, a reduction in PCB space and reduced power consumption. Assembly becomes simpler, and the electronics are afforded greater protection from environmental factors such as vibration — essential if the smart sensors are going to be deployed around a bustling city.

In a smart city, smart sensors must remain in operation for many years. They are likely part of a ten year plus investment cycle, so manufacturers want to avoid having to constantly update and change the electronics. With standard IC components, obsolescence will inevitably become a problem. Manufacturers of standard IC devices tend to upgrade the product throughout its lifetime, which can cause system performance issues if the new part is not compatible with the existing performance requirements.

A custom silicon solution ensures ASIC supply for the lifetime of the sensor. ASICs are designed with non-obsolescence in mind, and the ASIC supplier will work closely with those manufacturing smart city technology to produce a non-obsolescence plan. Using techniques such as storing wafers in dry nitrogen for up to 30 years, the need for costly system redesign and requalification can be eradicated.

Many cities around the world have already begun their journey to becoming smart cites. As the urban population grows, we can expect to see increasing adoption of IoT technologies to improve quality of life for citizens. Smart cities would not be possible without smart sensor technology. OEMs who choose the ASIC design route can expect improvements in performance and reliability and well as reductions in size and power consumption, helping smart cities to function as efficiently as possible.

If you’re interested in a custom design ASIC for your project, talk to a member of the Swindon team at www.swindonsilicon.com/contact-us or call +44 (0) 1793 649400.

Powelectrics IIoT Solution Architect, Will Brown, speaks at Gambica’s ChemUK 2022 Expo

Powelectrics IIoT Solution Architect, Will Brown, spoke on a panel of experts from the UK’s leading process instrumentation & control technology suppliers at ChemUK 2022, held on 11th & 12th May 2022 at the NEC in Birmingham.

The event, now established as the UK’s only major expo for the UK chemical industries, showcased over 350 specialist exhibitors and 150 expert speakers.

Will was sharing experiences & answering questions on technologies to drive efficiency & sustainability in plant operations, together with fellow panelists, John Skelland, Consultant at KBC Advanced Technologies and Dan Burbridge, Process Control Systems Sales Specialist at Siemens.

The panel sessions were arranged by Gambica, the Trade Association for Instrumentation, Control, Automation and Laboratory Technology in the UK.

Many thanks to Scott Pepper, Gambica’s Sector Head, Process Instrumentation & Control for his hard work in setting up and moderating the panel. 

Will commented: “It was great to be part of the panel at ChemUK! I hope our message really complemented that of the other parties.

“I asked the audience ” Have you got all the data that you needed in order to make your business decisions? ” Not a single person raised their hand!

“It shows that, despite advancements in analytics and machine learning, the fundamental basics of data capture and presentation are still absolutely critical to drive efficiency and sustainability.

“The final question from Scott asked was what technology we each thought EVERY site needed to implement. The answer from my point of view was energy and essential raw material consumption monitoring.

“Without that you have no basis from which to understand your usage. Powelectrics are seeing a huge demand for this and we can really help, especially in the current situation of exceptionally high pricing.

“Overall, this was a great experience and pleasure to be part of!! Thanks to Gambica and ChemUK for having me along”

More info on Powelectrics IIoT Solutions for the Chemical Industry here.

Brochure on Powelectrics IIoT Solutions in the Chemical Industry here.

More info on PowUtilities SMART electricity, gas & water metering technology for multi-occupancy sites here.

What can Powelectrics do for you?

Please browse the Powelectrics website and get in touch with any queries you have or applications you would like to discuss. Call +44 1827 310 666, email sales@powelectrics.co.uk or use this contact form.

 

Electrical connectors for the new age of farming

From the monitoring drones that analyse the farmland, the sensors that monitor soil conditions, to the unmanned farming vehicles that harvest the crops, the way we farm is changing. The term Agriculture 4.0 represents the anticipated changes in farming due to the implementation of these technologies. Here Tom Borland, UK and Ireland Country Manager at cables and connectors specialist PEI-Genesis, explores the connectors that will make the connected farm of the future possible.

Survey drones fitted with a multispectral imaging system, allowing them to capture footage in the near-infrared range as well as the visual spectrum, are just one example of how farmers are turning to technology to build farms of the future. In this case, the drone provides a bird’s-eye video to detect problems not easily visible from the ground, including issues with irrigation, soil variation and even pest and fungal infestations.

What may once have been an unusual sight is increasingly becoming commonplace on farms globally. This paradigm shift means that, over the next five years, farms will make increasing use of everything from drones and field sensors, to autonomous harvesting equipment and cab-mounted GPS units.

With this change, farmers must update some of their electrical equipment. One component that’s easy to overlook in this process is the humble connector. Connectors are already used widely across the agricultural sector and are responsible for delivering power, connecting cameras to screens in the tractor cab, and allowing operators to send control signals to harvesting attachments.

While the connectors used in farming equipment are already designed to handle a variety of harsh conditions, it’s essential that connectors used on farms of the future are fit for purpose going forward.

Changing connector needs

While a stainless-steel connector is useful for heat shielding, its weight may make it less favourable for drone applications. Similarly, while a plastic or composite connector offers a low weight and strong connector — one that’s inherently resistant to corrosion and chemicals — plastic can become brittle with prolonged outdoor exposure and the heat from the sun. In some cases, a balance could be achieved with an aluminium connector featuring an electroless nickel plating, delivering a low weight, metalised connector that is strong and durable.

With this growing complexity, farmers must consider the ability to transfer power and high-speed data effectively. This may require high bandwidth fibre optic cables that can collect and process the data from all the sensors as well as the wireless control signals from the remote operator.

It will become vital in the coming years that farmers choose the correct connector across their smart farm, for everything from lighting and power systems, and steering and motion, to monitoring and control, data signals, powertrain and cabin interfaces.

At the most basic level, these connectors will be variations of existing cylindrical style M12 ethernet connectors, favoured for their rugged build, in addition to bayonet and push-fit, quick release designs that make it easier to unmate when wearing gloves and during cold weather. Instead of spending time unthreading a connector when changing over equipment, operators can save time by using a quick push-pull design.

These push-pull connectors have become increasingly popular across industry over the last decade for their ease of use and we may see them become standardised in many agricultural applications in the future.

At the more advanced end of the spectrum, connectors will make use of the ISO-Bus platform, a system that allows farmers to use different equipment from different manufacturers with the same tractor and towing vehicles, increasing compatibility as a result.

To further futureproof connector design, PEI-Genesis can support customers in designing a fully modular connector assembly, allowing farmers to integrate multiple types of connector into a single plate. This allows them to use connectors that meet today’s needs but swap out the inserts when they need to upgrade the type of cable or configuration of contacts. This allows farmers to upgrade systems without incurring additional testing, drawing, reengineering and production costs.

As the transition to Agriculture 4.0 becomes a reality, farmers will need to ensure that equipment, including connectors, doesn’t become a costly bottleneck in facilitating this smooth transition. Thinking about your connectors now will make this connected future a reality.

Low-power remote cameras on show at IFAT

Following their hugely successful deployment all over the UK, the Meteor MRC Remote Camera Systems and the MeteorCloud web services will be on display at the MTRComs stand, number 401 in Hall B2 at the IFAT 2022 exhibition, which takes place at the Munich Messe from 30th May to 3rd June.

As a specialist manufacturer of remote cameras, MTRComs has established an office in Osnabrück, Germany, as part of the company’s expansion across mainland Europe. “Over 2,000 of our low-power cameras are currently operating in the UK,” explains company director Andrew Scott. “So, they have been thoroughly evaluated by customers such as water utilities and regulators, as well as flooding and drainage authorities.”

Typically, the MTRComs cameras are used to monitor important remote assets such as grilles, screens, channels, culverts and automated remote structures. Andrew says: “They are ideal for sites without mains power and communications infrastructure. This is because our low-power cameras are easy to deploy and are able to deliver both regular and on-demand images over cellular networks.”

The main advantage of remote cameras is that users are able to view sites remotely before deciding whether a visit is necessary, and also to determine what resources would be necessary for that visit. This means that less site visits are necessary, and wireless connectivity also means that operations such as camera configuration and firmware updates can be conducted remotely.

Andrew Scott and Matt Dibbs will be on the MTRComs stand to welcome IFAT visitors and provide live demonstrations of the company’s technologies.

Nominations open for the Instrumentation Excellence Awards 2022!

Nominations for the 2022 Instrumentation Excellence Awards are now open via the online portal: www.instrumentationawards.co.uk.

The inaugural Instrumentation Excellence Awards, brought to you by Datateam Business Media, the publishers of Instrumentation Monthly, will take place on 27 October 2022 at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London. The awards celebrate the very best professionals, products and companies from the test, measurement, sensing and control sectors so head over to the IEA portal now to find out more on how you can get your moment in the spotlight in October. Entering the Instrumentation Excellence Awards is quick, easy and completely free of charge – so there’s no need to delay!

Awards Categories

Product Categories:

  • IIoT product of the year
  • Test and Measurement Product of the Year (sponsored by IndySoft)
  • Sensor Product of the Year
  • Gas Detection Product of the Year
  • Calibration Product of the Year
  • Thermal Imaging and Vision Systems Product of the Year
  • Flow, Level and Control Product of the Year
  • Cables and Connectors Product of the Year
  • Monitoring and Metering Product of the Year
  • Cases and Enclosures Product of the Year
  • DAQ Product of the Year
  • Signal Conditioning Product of the Year

Business Categories:

  • Distributor of the Year
  • Manufacturer of the Year
  • Digital Transformation Award (sponsored by ifm electronic)
  • PR Agency of the Year Award
  • Sustainability Award
  • Excellence in Innovation
  • Best Marketing Campaign

Individual:

  • Industry Personality
  • Rising Star Award

Sponsors announced

Two sponsors have already been announced for this year’s Instrumentation Excellence Awards.

Calibration expert IndySoft has been announced as the sponsor of the Test and Measurement Product of the Year category.

ifm electronic, specialist in measurement, control and sensors, has been announced as the sponsor of the Digital Transformation Award.

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Louise Tiller by emailing ltiller@datateam.co.uk or calling 01622 699104.

Enter now

To enter the 2022 Instrumentation Excellence Awards, please visit: https://instrumentationawards.co.uk/

 

Powelectrics IIoT technology helps CG Godfrey reduce maintenance costs and offer excellent service

The Task

CG Godfrey Ltd is an engineering contractor, specialising in vacuum sewerage systems and deep drainage. The company was keen to offer its strong customer base of District Councils, utility companies and private landowners the benefits of connected-sensor technology.

The Solution

Powelectrics IIoT kit has been rolled out to customers with multiple pumping stations including South Holland & Fenland District Councils, generating alarms for high level, mains power failure and pump failure, so prompt action can be taken.

The Result

Members of the CG Godfrey team receive alarms and decide on appropriate action, ensuring that timely maintenance visits are made when necessary and that customers receive the highest standards of service.

Summary

  • Maintenance costs minimised.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Downtime minimised.
  • Environmental safety.
  • Customers tied in.

“We have used Powelectrics Metron kit for several years now. It has been reliable and robust from the outset. Installation is intuitive and there is great tech support. Telemetry allows us to offer exceptional service to our customers and has helped us develop long-term partnerships,” comments Karl Royce, Senior Quantity Surveyor at CG Godfrey. 

> Download This Case Study

Powelectrics offers over 30 years of expertise and practical experience in instrumentation and digitalisation. The company delivers IIoT solutions globally, customising its versatile suite of IIoT technologies to gather data from a vast range of sensors, machines and IIoT devices.

 For more information on Powelectrics IIoT Solutions for Pumping and Utilities, please click here.

 To download the brochure on Powelectrics IIoT Solutions for Water & Wastewater, please click here.

More case studies here: https://powelectrics.co.uk/case-studies/

What can Powelectrics do for you?

Please browse the Powelectrics website and get in touch with any queries you have or applications you would like to discuss. Call +44 1827 310 666 email sales@powelectrics.co.uk or use this contact form.

Farnell attending AMPER 2022 alongside industry-leading supplier partners

Farnell, an Avnet Company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, will be attending AMPER 2022, Brno, Czech Republic, at the Brno Exhibition Centre from 17-20 May, at stand location Hall F stand 2.02.

Visitors to AMPER can meet with Farnell’s dedicated local sales teams to discuss how Farnell can support customers in their journey. Joining Farnell on-stand will be four world-leading suppliers, Omron, Harwin, Tektronix and Pico Technology. Customers can visit these suppliers in dedicated pods on the Farnell stand.

In addition, Farnell will be presenting a wide range of technologies to support customers across multiple sectors, from industrial control and automation, to test and measurement through to board level components and more. Cutting-edge technologies displayed on stand will include the PicoScope 6000E, Pico Technology’s ‘Ultra-Deep Memory’ oscilloscope capable of capturing up to 4 giga samples of signal data and providing SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, as well as a demonstration from Tektronix experts on their TBS1202C product and insights into brand new products yet to hit the market.

Customers will also gain insight into the very latest technology offering from Farnell’s private label brand, Multicomp Pro, which will be presenting its unique customisation services and experts from the Multicomp Pro team can discuss how the range supports the engineer’s every need.

Gabor Szirom, Regional Sales Manager, Eastern Europe South, said: “We are delighted to be attending AMPER 2022, particularly after such a long absence from in-person events. Farnell thrives on face-to-face interaction with our customers and supplier partners, getting to know them and understanding their needs in order that we can best support them on their journey.

“Alongside our great supplier partners, Farnell will be displaying market-leading technologies that will help engineers at all stages of their design process and business at each stage of the lifecycle bring their products to market faster than ever before. We have invested significantly in inventory over the last couple of years, now offering close to one million parts for fast delivery.”

Customers can book a meeting with Farnell and Suppliers through the company’s dedicated AMPER 2022 website page enabling them to plan their visit to the Farnell stand.

New brand identity for Laser Components is a reflection of a growing corporate culture

‘beyond borders’ – With this claim, Laser Components is positioning itself for the future. In doing so, the company is consciously building on its 40-year tradition. “From the very beginning, we have seen ourselves as solution finders,” says Patrick Paul, CEO. “Together with our customers, we develop individual, application-specific solutions even for complex challenges, redefining the boundaries of optics and photonics. This is also the core message of the new brand identity with which we will present ourselves for the first time this year at LASER World of PHOTONICS.”

For Patrick Paul, as an entrepreneur, the employees play a key role in implementing this vision of the future: “Going ‘beyond borders’ requires people with a special mindset – hands-on personalities with an irrepressible drive to think beyond the standard. At Laser Components, this kind of people works not only in the development department but in the sales teams of our individual business units as well. This applies across the boundaries of languages and cultures for all locations. Our customers appreciate this because it puts them on par with our team members. That’s what sets us apart from our competitors.” 

Patrick Paul knows that every future is always rooted in the past: “Being a forward-thinking company also means not blindly chasing every trend. For example, when we restructured the group of companies, we made a conscious decision to retain the character of an owner-managed family business. This gives us a great deal of financial independence. We can plan strategically with foresight and do not have to be guided by the short-term profit expectations of stakeholders. At the same time, we can be sure that all the companies in the Group live our corporate values.” 

Further information »beyond borders« – After 40 Years, LASER COMPONENTS Still Has Its Unbridled Drive for Innovation