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Issue 32

innomech ltd bespoke automation specialists

• Innovative electro mechanical prototypes • special purpose machinery manufacturing • bespoke automated equipment

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Tel. 01367 871000

AUTOMATION UPDATE Editorial Assistant Ellen Tayler 01843 580 460 Publishing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 Sales Director Tim Johnston 01843 448 443 Advertising Exec Jamie Simmons 01843 580 460

Automation Update is an engaging, editorially led publication & directory giving the reader news and updates on new products and services to our ever Progressing industry.

Publishing House Jet Digital Media Ltd The Forge Spratling Court Office Spratling Court Farm Manston, Kent CT12 5AN

Automation Update - 3

XTS Hygienic in stainless steel for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries XTS Hygienic, the stainless steel version of the eXtended Transport System from Beckhoff, opens up a wide spectrum of new applications, first and foremost in the primary food and pharmaceutical industries and for processing and filling liquids in general. With the high protection rating of IP 69K, very good chemical resistance and without any hidden corners, edges or undercuts, the version in Hygienic Design offers a lot of potential for innovation in these industries. Offering the advantages of the standard system as a highly flexible motion solution even when the hygiene demands are high. The XTS replaces mechanics with software functionality to allow for a high degree of design freedom in realising completely new machine concepts. As a result, applications with difficult environmental conditions, such as in product handling for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries and in the production of paints and varnishes, will benefit from the new Hygienic Design.

Benefits for machine builders and end users Through a significant reduction in mechanical engineering requirements, machines can be set up with the 4 - Automation Update

XTS more compactly, at a lighter weight and with less wiring. In addition, compared to conventional solutions, the systems are much more flexible, the processes quicker and maintenance needs lower. Thus, machine builders can now offer smaller, more powerful and more efficient systems and the end user benefits accordingly from a smaller footprint, higher productivity and quicker product switchovers. These advantages become particularly apparent in the Hygienic Design environment because ease of cleaning is one of the highest priorities. With the XTS Hygienic, which is so much easier to clean compared to

more complex mechanical systems, the routine cleaning tasks along with those for product switchover – which are optimally supported by the XTS as standard – can be performed much more quickly. And there’s more: up to now, it was virtually impossible to implement mechanical solutions at all in many applications due to their high requirements for cleaning – the XTS Hygienic now allows for the automation of many of these processes as well. Beckhoff Automation will be showing the new Hygienic XTS at this year’s PPMA Show, booth F50.

Register now for the UK’s only national sensors show Sensors & Instrumentation, the one-stop shop for all test, measurement and control requirements, is just around the corner. Sponsored by industry giant Mouser Electronics, this year’s show will take place in Hall 1 at the NEC Birmingham on 26 & 27 September with new opening times of 9am-5pm on Tuesday and 9am-4pm on Wednesday. The first 200 visitors through the door on each day will be treated to a free early bird breakfast, courtesy of Keller, providing the perfect start to a day of exploring the lively exhibition floor and exciting feature areas. With the show fast approaching, the line-up of exhibitors continues to grow as companies secure the final spots. A full directory of exhibitors is available online here. Visitors at the show will be able to get a snapshot of what is available from exhibitors at the Innovation Showcase, sponsored by Bronkhorst, which will host a range of products, technologies and solutions. Sensors & Instrumentation 2017 will see the introduction of two brand new feature areas which are set to propel the show to new heights. Connecting Industry LIVE, where exhibitors will take to the stage to carry out live demonstrations and presentations, giving visitors a deeper understanding of the products on offer and how they can be beneficial to their own ventures. The Drone Zone will explore the advancing technologies at the heart of unmanned aerial vehicles, potential industrial applications and the obstacles that will need to be overcome - with presentations from key industry figures and live flight demonstrations.

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Micro Nano Mems will return for its ninth year, serving as a specialist pavilion for those interested in small and ultra-precision process technology. The focused CPD accredited seminar programme will also return with a host of unmissable presentations, with titles including ‘Build your own sensor’ presented by Dave Boylan of IST AG and many more. The full seminar schedule and synopsises are now live here. Visitors are invited to make a pit stop at the PR Electronics Formula 1 car simulator, where they will be able to compete for the fastest lap and take advantage of a prime networking opportunity. Sensors & Instrumentation is co-located with Interplas, TCT Show and PPMA, and this year there is a one-ticket policy giving visitors an allaccess pass to the UK’s largest group of industrial events taking place at the same time. Register online now at

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100% Clean – 100% Simple IP69K stainless steel distribution boxes open the door for decentralization of applications in the Food and Beverage industry


achine components and installations in the F&B industry have to be easy to clean. As a result, Murrelektronik’s new MVP12 Steel distribution box is made of high-quality stainless steel. It is an ideal solution to implement a decentralized approach in F&B machines and installations. The F&B industry doesn’t make any compromises where cleanliness and corrosion protection are concerned. Dirt must be easy to remove. Parts are exposed to high pressure wash downs with aggressive cleaning agents. This makes stainless steel the preferred material. Murrelektronik’s MVP12 Steel distribution boxes feature a closed stainless steel housing and threaded sleeves made of V4A stainless steel ensuring an IP69K rating. No matter if you are cleaning, rinsing or disinfecting MVP12 Steel will always operate reliably. One Homerun Cable Instead of Eight Single Cables

Prior to the introduction of MVP Steel, individual cables had to be routed through a system - a very complex task in the F&B industry because of the cleanliness requirements. Now a single homerun cable replaces the individual ones. This reduces material costs, the amount of wiring and space required. Moreover, terminal boxes are no longer required in the field. MVP12 Metal is installed close to the process so sensors and actuators can be connected to one of its eight ports with the shortest possible cables.

A Strong Team! To complement the MVP12 Steel distributors, Murrelektronik offers M12 Steel connectors that are fully potted and made of corrosion resistant stainless steel. Together the distribution box and cordset form a closed and rugged unit for F&B applications.

8 - Automation Update

Güdel Components Build Confidence In Bespoke Automation Güdel is a name widely recognised across many manufacturing sectors, and invariably associated with the company’s range of Gantry Robot systems and modules. racks), pinions and beams. These assemblies can be used anywhere and offer several advantages over traditional recirculating ball systems, the most important of which are resistance to harsh environments, low friction, quiet operations and high speed capabilities. There is also a linear guide-way system for heavy-duty applications, based on standard roller supports with three integrated roller bearings, guide-ways with or without racks, drive units and tubular steel profiles with guide-ways. This system is especially suited for applications where there are high axial and radial loads, high moment ratings, high rigidity and the need for quiet operation.

Less well known however, is the fact that every Güdel Gantry is built upon the company’s own in-house manufactured range of precision linear and drive components. These components are also available to machine builders for use in their own machine designs, giving them the Güdel advantage of components designed and manufactured with Swiss quality, for ultimate durability and reliability. In this article, Güdel UK’s Tom Smith explains the benefits that these industry proven components bring to machine builders. Special purpose machine builders are often faced with unique and sometimes difficult challenges in demanding applications. Minimising risk across all areas of this type of project is essential for all parties if the end user is to have a system which meets all of their productivity, quality and reliability expectations and the machine builder is to make a profit. Specifying machine components which are not only industry proven in their own right, but trusted by the original manufacturer to build their own modules and gantry robots, provides

unique levels of confidence for special purpose machine designers. With a comprehensive product range covering linear guide-ways, rack and pinions and gearboxes, the individual products within the Güdel range by design complement each other perfectly and can be easily combined to form highly efficient and reliable drive chains. A range of high-performance angle gearboxes is available in five different sizes. These can be specified in a wide choice of gear ratios – thirteen in total, ranging from 2 to 60, covering the most common areas of application, and are ideally suited to harsh working environments. They are dirt-resistant, offer higher speeds, lower noise, lower maintenance, are easier to set up and commission and can cope with applications that require very high duty cycles. Integral cooling fins on these units also optimise heat dissipation.

Although the Güdel name is obvious on the many Gantry robot systems installed across multiple market sectors, there are many bespoke automation systems in operation which rely on Güdel technology to provide the performance and durability required in today’s competitive manufacturing environment. For more information, please contact: Tom Smith Component Sales Güdel (UK) Limited Unit 5 Wickmans Drive Banner Lane Coventry CV4 9XA Tel: +44(0)24 76 695 444 E-Mail: Web:

A complementary range of longitudinal precision guides and drivetrain components enable a mass weighing anywhere between ten kilos and several tons - to be positioned at high speeds and accelerations with the utmost accuracy. Güdel’s modular system comprises of guide rollers, tracks (with or without in-built

Automation Update - 9

Bridging the gap in High Volume Manufacturing Innomech, bespoke automation specialists, examine the true cost of not automating product manufacturing processes


ne of the toughest challenges all companies face when scaling up production are rising manufacturing costs such as labour, raw materials, energy costs etc. and these costs increase further as market demand escalates. Automated manufacturing is one way to overcome such challenges but automation projects need careful management to the meet assembly requirements of specialist products and verticals. It is particularly taxing for SME’s because not only do they have limited readilyavailable funds, they are often integrating new materials, functions and technologies for the first time. Organisations often regard automated manufacturing an unnecessary expense because of the upfront investment needed. However, if they took all indirect costs, such as training, health and safety, specialist clothing, cleanrooms etc. into account, it becomes a more attractive and feasible option. Innomech, bespoke automation specialists, considers the practicalities of taking on an automation project for a new or existing process and provides insight on selecting the right automation partner. User specification is integral to any development project and many of them fail by not taking this into account. A detailed spec often provides a means of establishing expectations and the importance of finding an effective solution. Cost justification is essential from the outset, not only for planning, budgeting and ROI purposes, but also to gauge stakeholder enthusiasm. Collaboration with potential suppliers is imperative to ensure process requirements can be met and the latest technologies relevant for specific applications are identified; off-the shelf solutions may not always be the best option. Realistic timescales and deadlines are also important, with all tangible deliverables, such as design review, machine build, acceptance testing and installation outlined at the appropriate stages. Risk mitigation and solution finding are central to driving any project forward. Innovative solutions and a collaborative approach help ensure key risks are effectively managed. Early engagement with an automation supplier. Too many companies wait until product prototypes are fully tested before considering volume manufacture. Seek advice from the outset to identify potential failure modes and to avoid costly design mistakes.

10 - Automation Update

Automation system developed by Innomech perform optimally at all times Innomech, an independent provider of bespoke and innovative automation solutions for more than 20 years, works closely with customers throughout their machines’ lifecycles, from development through to manufacturing, to deliver companyspecific solutions that are fit for purpose. Innomech also builds solutions from the ground up and harnesses current automation technologies and trends, including collaborative robots and IoT. Contact Innomech today to discuss how process automation can enhance product manufacturing and transform innovative ideas into real world products.

Our Process We have a robust process, expertise and experience which enables us to analyse, design and implement small or large scale automation solutions.

Conceptual Design User Requirements Specification

This can be a detailed customer requirement, or a list of objectives that Innomech turn into an agreed requirement specification

Functional Specification

This describes the technical behavoir of the machine, directly relating to the user requirement specification

System Build

Minimise risk elements

• Established a clear understanding of the problem • Feasibility studies • Risk Analysis

FMECA and other tools Practical tests

This early stage design work enables a more in depth understanding of the processes involved and will highlight the various approaches and the risks and obstacles that need to be addressed.

Mechanical Design

Electrical Design

Our Design Engineers use the latest 3D CAD techniques to model and detail the systems components.



Understanding risks at an early stage will help focus the choice of the design approach and highlight the cost and leadtime implications.

Machine Control Design

Our Control Engineers select the most appropriate architecture for the application


Our systems are built ensuring that the build documentation complies with our quality system, ensuring full component traceability. Our Quality System also demands that the equipment is tested to a customer agreed Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) before delivery.

Project Management

Change Control

Software Design


Systems handover may include delivery, site acceptance testing and installation but handover is not the end of the story, we also support products

Communication tel: +44 1353 667394 email:

Industry 4.0: implementing the RAMI 4.0 reference architecture model with the MICA® industrial computer In future, industrial manufacturing will be both simpler and more modular. Both these trends result from the adoption of concepts like Integrated Industry and Industry 4.0: the equivalent of the Industrial Internet of Things. which different MICA® versions have already been implemented by HARTING and within the HARTING partner network. These include:

Compact and robust solutions will have to be developed to implement distributed task assignment in the field. These tasks might include the acquisition of sensor data or data from communications with central IT systems. These scenarios are tailormade for HARTING’s MICA® (Modular Industry Computing Architecture) to come into play.

Open platform MICA® is a modular and open platform for the fast and cost-efficient implementation of individual Integrated Industry projects. The MICA® platform consists of a toolbox for hardware modules and software applications that offers the ability to provide rapid prototyping and application development. In contrast to singleboard computers such as Beaglebone or Raspberry Pi, MICA® features a three-part board, one part of which can be customised. Another advantage is its suitability for industrial use, down to the smallest of details: the MICA® is robust and comes in a compact aluminium housing, including industry-standard connectors. Even with hardware adaptations, the form factor and the degree of protection remain constant. The modular concept has served as the basis on

12 - Automation Update

• MICA® Energy for capturing energy data via a Modbus interface • MICA® as an RFID reader with integrated data processing capabilities • MICA® variants with fieldbus connectivity for EtherCAT, Profinet and Ethernet/IP applications • MICA® as a gateway to LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) networks

aid in abiding by a common understanding of standards, Industry 4.0 technology and different user perspectives. RAMI 4.0 recommends using the concept of a so-called management shell to create the virtual image of a device or a machine in the digital world. MICA® represents the ideal hardware basis for this: it makes devices usable which were previously not even networked, or which possess outdated communication capabilities. In the virtual world, MICA® helps to transform old machines into new, modern devices, as shown by the following examples from HARTING’s own production plants.

Retrofitting production equipment Centralised machine monitoring and process optimisation are two of the fastest ways to operate production systems and machines more efficiently Linking MICA® to and cost-effectively. With machinery lifetimes of RAMI 4.0 between 15 and 30 years, MICA® assumes a key a large part of the existing function when the initial machine stock usually step is taken on the way to possesses neither the Industry 4.0: the digitalisation computing power nor the of production equipment. memory capacity to capture, First, this move means that store or communicate the MICA® is linked to the relevant data. In many cases, Reference Architecture these machines also use data Model of Industry 4.0, or formats and protocols from RAMI 4.0 for short, which the 1980s and 1990s. was jointly defined by the German business associations A retrofit example can BITKOM, VDMA, ZVEI and be found in an injection other partners. Essential moulding machine used elements of Industry 4.0 are in HARTING’s connector brought together by RAMI manufacturing line. Here, 4.0 in a three-dimensional the MICA® bridges the co-ordinate system which gap between the injection features a layered structure. moulding machine and the The goal is to use a serviceERP/MES by implementing oriented architecture to the RAMI 4.0 management

shell. It also implements the necessary protocol conversion between the legacy Euromap 15 protocol and modern communication systems such as MQTT or OPC UA. In the other direction, it handles the conversion back to byte sequences and communicates with the machine in accordance with the protocol.

In another application example, injection moulding machines of various manufacturers and ages at a HARTING factory are connected to IBM Bluemix and Watson IIoT systems using MICA®, which acts as an administration shell, creating a digital representation of a device in the digital world, thereby transforming it into an Industry 4.0 component. The MICA® computers are equipped with a modular function board which provides Modbus RTU and 8_S0 connections for current transformers and current meters. At the same time, the MICA® records the RFID tags of the installed injection moulding tools via Ethernet. All data are then optionally stored locally on the MICA® in Influx DB: an Open Source database optimised for time series – using the freely available MICA® MQTT container and evaluated using the Open Source tool Grafana, or transferred to an IBM data centre in for storage and evaluation via a Watson IIoT connector installed on the MICA®.

Cryogenic technology brings rocket science to

‘It’s not rocket science,’


people often say when describing how easily a problem might be solved. But cryogenic technology, now being used to produce stainless steel screwdrivers, is now enabling rocket science to benefit automation engineers and technicians. The principals of cryogenics, used by NASA and other space agencies to develop rocket fuel, have been used by designers and production engineers at Bahco to develop a ground-breaking new range of stainless steel screwdrivers. Until now stainless steel hard enough for industrial applications has been too brittle for everyday use. Bahco have overcome this by using cryogenic technology, giving their stainless steel screwdrivers and torsion bits superb hardness and durability. Cryogenic vacuum ice-hardening cools the steel and tempers it in a gasless chamber, preserving its flexibility.

Bahco’s new stainless steel screwdrivers are available with slotted, Torx, Phillips or Pozidriv heads

Many engineers and technicians have long been aware that using a conventional ferrous steel screwdriver can leave traces of ‘foreign object’ debris on stainless steel screws and other fasteners.

“This technical achievement provides further evidence of Bahco’s market leading innovation,” says Mark Haywood, who leads the Bahco team in the UK and Ireland.

This causes them to oxidize and create extraneous rust, which is not only unsightly but, importantly, can lead to serious corrosion and a threat to hygiene and safety if left untreated.

“Science often becomes reality and the breakthrough offers significant benefits to automation engineers and technicians required to work in any environment where corrosion must be avoided.”

The only effective solution is to ensure that non-rusting stainless steel screws are driven by non-rusting stainless steel screwdrivers. Renowned for its hygienic qualities and ease of cleaning, stainless steel is widely used in ‘clean rooms’ within the food manufacturing, hospitality, pharmaceutical, automotive and aerospace industries. Its resistance to all weather conditions, corrosion and antacids also makes it highly suitable for offshore applications.

Bahco’s stainless steel screwdriver range features round blades made from high performance alloy stainless steel. They are now available, along with a range of ¼” stainless steel torsion bits, with a choice of slotted, Phillips®, Pozidriv® and Torx® heads. For further details or technical information visit

Using stainless steel screwdrivers will reduce contractors’ costs by reducing the need to replace worn tools. Their introduction is timely as demand for stainless steel screws has grown by almost 70 per cent over the past few years.

Automation Update - 13

New Product Launch Contractor Kit 1 Key Problems Plant, office and facilities maintenance requires regular access to elevated areas, which are awkward and therefore difficult to reach; each task being different from the last. Working at height must be accomplished safely and, traditionally, out sourced scaffolding companies and fixed aluminium tower systems have been deployed. Outsourced scaffolding labour is expensive and not available 24 x 7, aluminium frame systems are cumbersome, inflexible, difficult to transport and will not adjust to fit into awkward areas.

Solution – The LOBO Systems Contractor Kit 1

Wheels are optional, and with outriggers for stability, toe boards and a ladder the kit is complete and can quickly be assembled within 20 minutes. The LOBO Contractor Kit can be removed from the van and assembled into a trolley to facilitate easy site transportation before it is configured into a full system.

Pallet Size Kit 1

The LOBO System can be assembled quickly, easily and safely in around, above desks or restricted access areas, without the need for tools, by your own in-house maintenance crew. This means out sourced scaffolding labour costs can be reduced without comprising safety. Areas, previously considered difficult to get to, can now be accessed with ease for maintenance and cleaning purposes.

The LOBO Contractor Kit 1

In addition, the LOBO System is available 24 x 7 and so puts you in control of what and when you schedule your maintenance tasks.

The LOBO Contractor Kit 1 quickly flat packs into a small van for field based engineers. It can be assembled to a maximum standing height of 2.75m and uses 1.2m LOBO deck boards as shown.

ÂŁ2,590.00 Adjustable from 2.1m to 2.75m

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Safety Steel modular components, rigid structure and extremely adjustable.

Assembly Fast, no tools are required and the system flat packs for easy transportation

Multiuse Reconfigured to meet different requirements, can be made smaller or larger with the addition of kit.

Training Certified competency training is available to ensure safe assembly and use. Toe Board

Wheel Kit (wheels add 20mm to height)


MANUFACTURING & LOGISTICS PERFORMANCE BENCHMARK • Automated users report 250% performance improvement • Red Ledge, Böwe Systec and Stockrail International partnership unifies intelligent, integrated production and WMS control with state-of-the-art materials handling, advanced sortation and labelling

• Partnership to publicly launch ‘Red Ledge Automated Manufacturing & Logistics’ systems at Robotics and Automation show • “Our advanced control and integration set a new performance benchmark for supply chain systems, speeding business processes, improving customer service and cutting costs” says Red Ledge director Alan Wilcockson

Intelligent manufacturing and logistics systems control specialist Red Ledge has joined forces with advanced sortation company Böwe Systec and Stockrail International which has a 30-year materials handling track record, to launch a series of fully integrated and automated supply chain systems that improve user performance by an average 250%, based on early reports from manufacturing and logistics industry users say Red Ledge. The partnership will publicly launch its new family of ‘Red Ledge Automated Manufacturing & Logistics’ systems at the Robotics and Automation Exhibition (Stand 220, Arena MK, Milton Keynes 11-12 October). Red Ledge systems use RFID and other forms of intelligence to optimise control of fully integrated production, WMS, advanced sortation and speed-labelling systems, increasing throughput. Red Ledge, Böwe Systec and Stockrail International are joining forces to deliver systems for which early users report average productivity increases of 250%. Improvements of up to 700% have been reported by users moving from zero to full automation. “Our advanced control and integration set a new performance benchmark for supply chain systems, speeding business processes, improving customer service and cutting costs” says Red Ledge director Alan Wilcockson. Red Ledge is a globally recognised specialist in RFID, barcode, voice and sensor technologies for the IIoT age. The company is currently growing at 40% per annum and recently opened a new US operation.

Automation Update - 15

Efficiency gains in compressed air systems BOGE’s Mark Whitmore reveals how to improve compressor efficiency and make substantial savings by taking closer control of compressed air production.


ompressed air system controls have one clear objective: to match the compressed air supply with the demands placed on the system. There are several ways to achieve this, including a simple start/stop arrangement where the compressor motor is turned on or off in response to the discharge pressure; by throttling the inlet control, which varies the compressor output to meet flow requirements; and using a constant speed control (load/unload), which allows the motor to run continuously, but unloads the compressor when the discharge pressure is adequate.

Consider variable speed A better technique, which is becoming commonplace in new air compressor systems, is to control the compressor motor via a variable speed drive (VSD). This delivers smoother motor starting and a more stable air supply pressure by matching the motor speed to instantaneous demand. Energy savings of as much as 50% are possible through using a VSD.

Measure performance You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to measure a compressor’s performance. The most obvious approach being the use of some form of data monitoring device that tracks both the compressor and air delivery system performance. These monitoring systems can also be deployed to flag servicing requirements based on actual usage, providing early warning of potential compressor or air distribution system problems, as well as a 24/7 analysis of the monitored unit’s energy efficiency. Another approach might involve the appointment of an experienced compressor manufacturer or engineering consultant to undertake regular system 16 - Automation Update

audits on behalf of a client. BOGE, for example, conducts compressed air energy assessments in accordance with the international standard ISO 11011:2013. This means that we review the entire system – from energy inputs to the work performed as a result of these inputs – to help ensure optimum performance.

Implement the correct maintenance strategy So, measurement is a primary function of good management, which ultimately boosts reliability. However, unless regularly and properly maintained, a compressed air system will degrade quickly and will become far less energy efficient, increasing operating costs. Periodic maintenance will avoid unscheduled downtime and ensure that the system will continue to operate at peak efficiency.

Don’t overlook leaks A compressed air distribution network is effectively a reservoir of compressed air, the pressure of which is maintained by the compressor as air is put to work around the plant. As such, the air distribution pipework has a role to play in determining the overall efficiency of a compressed air system. Here, leaks are the main source of problems; compressed air system efficiencies are affected as much by how air escapes the system as by how it is generated within the compressor. Fixing leaks in the pipework is just as important as servicing the compressor itself. Learn more by downloading BOGE’s free guide to control measures from

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The Versatility of Infra-Red

By Ian Bartley, Heraeus Noblelight

The application of heat is an important stage of many areas of the engineering and process sectors. This can range from curing of adhesives and paints, assistance in plastics forming and lamination, browning of food toppings, prevention of thermal shock during hot filling of bottles and jars even the heating of metal tool moulds. There are many other manufacturing processes where heat is used and often this heat needs to be applied selectively and in a targeted fashion. This can often be achieved most efficiently and cost-effectively using infra red heating. Infra-red heating is one of the most energy-efficient and versatile mechanisms of heat transfer, as the energy contained in infra-red emission is converted into heat only when it is absorbed by the object to be heated. As a result all the heat is transferred directly and there is no heating up of the surrounding environment. And, as infra-red heaters have very little warm-up times, their fast response means that heat is applied only when required. In addition, infra-red emitters can be contoured to match the form of the object to be heated, so that heat can be produced in a targeted fashion exactly where it is needed, in terms of focus, size and spectrum.

Flexibility in application As well as its versatility as a heat source, infra-red is also extremely flexible in its application. Infra-red emitters are very compact and can be easily integrated, and retrofitted, within automated production lines. A particular example of this is the use of infra-red within robotic cells and a fast response medium wave (FRMW) infra-red heating system from Heraeus Noblelight has been integrated precisely within such cells at Dura Automotive Systems of Castle Bromwich to ensure the reliable and precise adhesion of molded thermoplastic sealings to custom-designed, automotive glass windows. Dura Automotive Systems is a global operation, employing over 12,000 people, with its headquarters in the USA. It is the world’s leading independent designer and manufacturer of driver control systems, seating control systems, safety hardware, structural body systems, exterior trim and integrated glass systems.. Its factory at Castle Bromwich specialises in automotive structures, glass and trim solutions. When it was awarded an important contract by a major British car maker to produce quarter lights featuring a molded sealing around the edges, Dura contacted Bauromat (UK) Ltd a recognised leader in robot manufacturing cells. Consequently, a cell 18 - Automation Update

featuring two Kuka robots was installed to carry out the delicate operation of applying a prime adhesive coating to the quarter glass to allow a molded seal to be affixed in a subsequent operation. However to ensure ideal adhesion of the molded seal to the prime coating it was necessary to heat the coating to a specified temperature to achieve the required cure and “tackiness” before the glass is precisely over-molded in a further operation. Infra-red was considered to provide the best solution to this problem. Unlike a warm air oven, an infra-red system takes up very little space, can be precisely controlled to synchronise with the robot operations and is very energyefficient. Tests were carried out at Heraeus Noblelight’s Applications Centre in Neston, Wirral, and these proved so successful that a 24 kW Carbon medium infra red (CIR) system was installed in the robot manufacturing cell. This is designed to heat one large item of glass or two smaller ones, according to production requirements and is Pyrometer controlled to maintain a set coating surface temperature. According to Oli Lebrun, the project engineer at Dura, “The infra-red system fits perfectly into the cell manufacturing cycle and we have an additional energy-saving bonus, as the fast response of the emitters means that heat is applied only when required.”

Conclusion Infra-red is possibly the most versatile and flexible of all heating techniques. It is energy-efficient and ovens have a small footprint. It is easy to control and can be easily retrofitted in existing installations. It is now being increasingly specified throughout the manufacturing and process sectors, where systems can be designed to cater for variable process and product requirements.

Keeping chemicals safe Cory Riverside Energy is a waste to energy plant to the East of London. With a population approaching nine million people, London has an incredible appetite for energy. Keeping the lights on in the face of increasing demand is one of the major challenges facing the city today. It produces around 22 million tonnes of waste every year. Or, to put it another way, enough to fill the largest skyscraper at Canary Wharf every eight days. At this site they utilise this waste to help provide London with a safe, secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply, which also makes great environmental sense. The site at Belvedere uses these materials, that would otherwise have gone to landfill, as a feedstock to generate electricity. As one of the largest operations of its kind in the UK, this facility generates c.525,000 MWh of electricity each year from processing around 750,000 tonnes of waste. What’s more, they use the River Thames as a ‘green highway’ to move the waste from the centre of the city to the facility on their fleet of tugs and barges, removing around 100,000 truck movements a year off the UK capital’s congested roads. Chemical storage on site The energy from waste combustion process presents many challenges, from bulk handling of the incoming waste streams to the careful monitoring and control of the outputs to the environment. At various stages chemicals are used on their purified water systems. These chemicals are stored in bulk storage tanks at strategic points across the plant, in one such area there are 4 polypropylene plastic chemical tanks containing Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) 32% and Hydrochloric acid (32%) - each product utilising a ground floor bulk storage vessel and a smaller ‘day’ tank’ on an upper floor, used for the process-critical dosing and neutralisation. All tanks had been originally supplied fitted with low cost ‘back pressure’ level systems that failed due to corrosion and build up. With fumes and vapours escaping through the housings, they were unreliable, inaccurate and very unsafe.

Risks with chemicals To get the right sensor specification means it needs to be made of the right materials, sometimes needing expensive alloys and elastomer seals in the construction. During fitting or removal, both sensor and process will also require containment, isolation and decontamination, as well as comprehensive personal protection equipment ( i.e. COSSH regulations). This often results in mandatory closing off an area of the plant while any equipment installation or removal is taking place on the vessel. These necessary health and safety procedures incur extra safety risks and cost.

Cory Riverside Energy plant at Belvedere East London

When storing chemicals, especially those that are highly acid or alkali, they are generally highly toxic, corrosive substances that can leave residues and readily give off vapours and fumes. Any contact with, or release into the atmosphere can quickly create a very hazardous environment for personnel. At Cory, these chemical products require careful monitoring and accurate level measurement to remove any risk of overfill, and ensure the process has ample supply. “We wanted a new level system that would avoid any repeat of the issues with the original sensors, ideally eliminating process contact and any risks experienced with the previous technology.” Said the Cory instrument engineer. VEGA proposed to use contactless radar sensors mounted above and outside the vessels looking through the vessel top to measure the liquid level inside.

Contactless level measurement benefits When it comes to liquid level measurement of chemicals a sensor generally requires a process connection into the vessel to get its ‘sensing part’ to connect into the process - even when using a top mounted ‘non contact’ device - it could be a rod, cable or diaphragm. So, to be able to measure any process variable completely without contact provides many benefits; from longevity of operation, protection from chemicals and the process, along with the increased safety through reduction or complete elimination of exposure to harmful substances. Radar has quite a unique ability to measure the level of a liquid down right through an opaque plastic vessel top or window on a nozzle, completely from…

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Automation Update - Issue 32  

Automation Update - Issue 32