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  • Understanding REACH

    Registration Evaluation Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances

    It is certainly no secret to anyone that the past decade has placed a renewed focus on the environment and how all members of the world community, to include business organizations, affect it. Concerns about protecting the world in which we live have been the impetus behind such worldwide movements as recycling and renewable energy. From a manufacturing standpoint, RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) has impacted businesses as well as REACH, a more recent set of regulations that are becoming more significant to North American based manufacturing operations that are part of a supply chain that directly or indirectly supplies products into the European Union.

    As with any new regulatory requirements, the initial exposure to the documentation can create a degree of uncertainty among those who will be asked to comply. From this perspective, REACH is no different from any of its predecessors. In an attempt to offer some understanding of the REACH regulations and some clarification of the requirements it places on manufacturers, C&M Corporation gathered Michael Karg, Director of Product Development, along with Randy Elliott, Regulatory Compliance Engineer, and Ariann Griffin, Regulatory Compliance Technician, to discuss some of the particulars of REACH and respond to some of the questions C&M has been discussing with members of its client base.

    What is the purpose of REACH?

    Mike Levesque, Randy Elliott, Ariann Griffin and Michael Karg, C&M Corporation
  • Explaining the Agency Approval Process for Wire and Cable Products

    Some engineers think it is science. Others contend it is some type of black magic.

    Many have no idea of exactly how the process works.

    Regardless of what is known -or unknown - about the submission and evaluation process, there are few that will disagree with the premise that agency certifications, such as those offered by organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or Intertek, formerly known as Edison Testing Laboratories (ETL), to name only a few, are an important part of any product offering in the wire and cable industry. With today's focus on product safety, there has been an increased need for wire and cable products to carry either a listed or recognized mark signifying they have been independently evaluated and have met the appropriate safety guidelines that have been established based on their intended use.

    In an attempt to help bring some clarity to the agency certification process for bulk cable, Mike Levesque has posed a series of related questions to Randy Elliott, C&M Corporation's Regulatory Compliance Engineer. Randy has been a practicing engineer in the wire and cable industry for over 20 years. His background in R&D and design engineering has brought him into contact with regulatory agencies and their requirements on a regular basis throughout his career. For the past three years, his focus has been completely on regulatory issues for C&M.

    Who is responsible for testing and what do their results mean?

    Mike Levesque & Randy Elliott, C&M Corporation
  • Sizing and Selecting Linear Motion Systems: How LOSTPED Can Help

    From packaging and material handling to semiconductor fabrication and automotive assembly, virtually all manufacturing processes incorporate some type of linear motion, and as manufacturers become familiar with the flexibility and simplicity of modular linear motion systems, these systems-whether one, two or complete three-axis Cartesian robotics systems-are finding their way into more and more areas of production.

    A common mistake that engineers and designers make when sizing and selecting linear motion systems is to overlook critical application requirements in the final system. This can lead to costly redesigns and re-works in the worst case, but may also often result in an over-engineered system that is more costly and less effective than desired. With so many possible solutions, it's easy to become overwhelmed when tasked with designing a linear motion system. How much load will the system need to handle? How fast will it need to move? What is the most cost-effective design?

    All of these questions and more were considered when Bosch Rexroth's Linear Motion and Assembly Technologies group developed "LOSTPED"-a simple acronym that guides the engineer or designer in gathering the information needed to specify the appropriate linear motion components or modules in any given application.

    What Is LOSTPED?

    Rexroth Bosch Group
  • Understanding NFPA 79

    NFPA-79 is the electrical standard that has been developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and is "intended to minimize the potential hazard of electrical shock and electrical fire hazards of industrial metalworking machine tools, woodworking machinery, plastics machinery and mass produced equipment, not portable by hand."

    The National Fire Protection Association is also responsible for the National Electric Code (NEC)/ (NFPA-70).

    The scope of NFPA-79 is summarized as follows: "The standard shall apply to the electrical/electronic equipment, apparatus, or systems of industrial machines operating from a nominal voltage of 600 volts or less, and commencing at the point of connection of the supply to the electrical equipment to the machine."

    One of the focuses of the latest edition is to improve product safety by ensuring that appropriate types of wire and cable are used in the application with regard to current carrying capacity, temperature rating, or flammability.

    As such, the guidelines for NFPA-79 compliant products are more stringent than those cables allowed by past editions.

    The NFPA-79 provisions make specific reference to only two types of cable.

    Ned Lloyd and Mike Levesque, C&M Corporation
  • Machining Accuracy of Machine Tools

    Productivity and accuracy of machine tools are important competition aspects. Rapidly changing operating conditions for machine tools, however, make it diffi cult to increase productivity and accuracy. In the manufacture of parts, increasingly small batch sizes have to be produced economically, and yet accurately. In the aerospace industry, maximum cutting capacity is needed for the roughing processes, whereas the subsequent finishing processes must be executed with maximum precision. For milling high-quality molds, high material removal rates are required during roughing and excellent surface quality must be obtained after finishing. At the same time, maximum contouring feed rates are necessary to realize the required minimum distances between the paths within acceptable machining times.

    Thermal accuracy of machine tools is becoming increasingly important considering the strongly varying operating conditions in manufacturing. Especially with small production batches that require constantly changing machining tasks, a thermally stable condition cannot be reached. At the same time, the accuracy of the first workpiece is becoming very important for the profitability of production orders. Constant changes between drilling, roughing and finishing operations contribute to the fluctuations in the thermal condition of a machine tool. During the roughing operations, the milling rates increase to values above 80%, whereas values below 10% are reached during finishing operations. The increasingly high accelerations and feed rates cause heating of the recirculating ball screw in linear feed drives. Position measurement in the feed drives therefore plays a central role in stabilizing the thermal behavior of machine tools.

  • Advances in Low Voltage Motor Control Center (MCC) Technology Help Reduce Arc-Flash Hazards and Minimize Risks

    Selecting the right MCC equipment leads to improved plant safety, helping protect people and capital investments.

    Measures to increase equipment and personnel safety in manufacturing are reflected in new approaches and technologies designed to help minimize the risk of workplace dangers. One rapidly growing area of focus is reducing the potentially serious hazards associated with arc-flash events. This white paper examines the causes of arc flash, discusses the standards guiding arc-flash safety and details the role arc-resistant motor control centers (MCCs) play in helping contain arc energy. It also highlights the key features of an effective arc-resistant MCC design.

    Managing safety hazards and reducing risks are top priorities for manufacturers across all sectors of industry. With a multitude of potential dangers and new ones continuously emerging, companies must be diligent in their ongoing efforts while considering new approaches and technologies to improve plant safety. One rapidly growing area of focus is implementing techniques and practices designed to reduce hazards and minimize risk for workers who must enter an area with an electrical arc-flash potential.

    Rockwell Automation
  • Signal Isolators, Converters and Interfaces: The Ins and Outs

    The ability to depend on accurate monitoring and control signals is absolutely priceless. Inaccuracies can lead to process inefficiencies, process upsets and even very costly plant shutdowns. Much worse, inaccuracies can lead to dangerous safety conditions for plant personnel. Whether you call them signal isolators, signal converters or signal interfaces, these versatile workhorses are indispensable tools that enhance measurement accuracy and protect signals from damaging conditions, thereby saving time, resources and money.

    With the extensive array of isolators available, selecting the correct isolator or the right combination of isolator features can be a bit daunting. However, if you take the time to add the right instruments to your process, signal isolators, converters and interfaces can help improve the efficiency and throughput of your process.

    This guide by Moore Industries will tell you many of the important ways signal isolators, converters and interfaces can be used, and what to look for when deciding which one is the right solution for you.

    Moore Industries
  • A Web Broker Architecture for Remote Access

    A simple and cost-effective way to remotely maintain and service industrial machinery worldwide.

    Providing industrial remote access systems for machine builders and OEMs has become a critical requirement for enterprises, often making the difference between companies that are successful and those that are not. Regardless of whether maintenance engineers work in the office or at home, they need easy and seamless access to machines and industrial assets in order to do their job, which primarily involves remote maintenance.

    In the early 1990s, there were only limited options for worldwide access to machines and industrial assets. A modem communicating via the public switched telephone network was the prevalent option. Unfortunately, this required making long-distance calls, and the available throughput was so low that it was difficult to service machines in practice. As the Internet grew, it provided an opportunity for free or public long distance communication for remote access. Now combined with cellular technologies that provide wireless communication or DSL based technologies, this offers the market new communication media for accessing devices. However, DSL based technologies require installing a dedicated line to the machine location, while cellular technologies requires that wireless receivers are available in the vicinity of the machine providing adequate coverage for good communication.

    An alternative approach is for machine builders to utilize the network infrastructure of their customers, assuming that the customer’s machine can be connected to the Internet via a LAN connection point. This is the preferred way to access the machine, since it provides the lowest-cost connection, high throughput, and almost no deployment effort on the media side. Using Internet implies the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure secure IP connections. Using a LAN connection point requires the integration of these VPNs into the corporate LANs of the machine builders' customers.

    With a remote access turnkey system approach, the machine builder must assume responsibility for the integration activities and will probably need to collaborate with the customer's IT staff in order to perform the integration. Although this is a viable approach, it has some drawbacks. For instance, each customer may require a different VPN configuration, which increases the complexity of the integration process and extends the installation and commissioning period, which of course impacts the cost of the machine installation.

    It is therefore important to choose technologies which allow the installation cost to be kept to a reasonable level by minimizing the integration factor as much as possible.

    eWON SA, Francis Vander Ghinst, Head of Sales & Marketing Ops
  • Reducing the Risk, Cost and Frequency of Production Stoppages Using Network Redundancy

    Insurance is everywhere in today's world: Car insurance, house insurance, life insurance-but what about your facility, the equipment inside, and, most important, your industrial network? What ensures that the lifeblood of your operation will continue to function if a failure occurs? Can you afford the risk-and the expense-of outages and the associated downtime they can create? Consider the cost of one production stoppage at your plant. How much effort is needed to recover and restart the process? How much product may be lost? How much downtime will be incurred, and how much will it cost per minute, per hour, per day?

    Whether your facility is involved in discrete or process operations, ensuring that it runs uninterrupted is critical to your bottom line. One way to minimize the risk of unplanned outages and help reach the goal of continuous operation is to ensure that your communications keep flowing with a back-up, or redundant network.

    How can redundancy help? Automation pervades most modern plant systems, and those systems are nearly always part of the network infrastructure. When a failure occurs, it happens most often within the network. Redundancy so often, then, can be the mechanism to respond and reduce the effects of these failures, making an investment in a redundant system money well spent. When applied to the communications infrastructure, redundancy not only minimizes the risk of outages and maximizes uptime, it provides the stable operational performance so critical to facilities in our current fragile economy.

    Belden, Mike Miclot and John Mower
  • Providing Access to Your Manufacturing Data - Securely

    The proliferation of industrial Ethernet today is putting manufacturing at risk for inadvertent and deliberate intrusions. Security measures tailored specifically for production environments are imperative for keeping operations protected…and profitable.

    Security today is a necessary part of every manufacturing operation that expects to run smoothly, efficiently, safely, and profitably. But protecting the industrial environment is far from an easy job. As production equipment and the systems that connect and control it grow increasingly more complex and sophisticated, the measures needed to protect them become more critical as well.

    Fueling these developments in large part is the recent evolution of Ethernet technology from the office enterprise to the industrial environment. Once thought to be insufficiently robust and lacking in functionality, industrial Ethernet (standardized Ethernet communications over a hardened networking infrastructure) has advanced remarkably, becoming, in a few short years, the communications staple of manufacturing and production, of automation and control.

    Although it offers many benefits, industrial Ethernet is not without issues, especially in terms of security. It typically must carry signals between devices on a precise, exacting schedule. While standard Ethernet in the office environment may be unharmed by a signal transmission fault, it is a different story in the industrial world. Networks here must be able to withstand harsh and hazardous environments with little margin for error. Downtime caused by a security breach on the manufacturing side-whether it is from an inadvertent or unintentional error or from a deliberate cyber attack-is always expensive and can put assets at risk.

    Belden, Mike Miclot and Jeff Cody
  • Using Redundant Wireless for Reliable Heavy Industry Automation

    Communications unreliability within a system can compromise the operations of the entire system, so it is important to find ways to decrease the unpredictability of your communications network. Download this white paper to learn how heavy industry automation equipment and settings can improve productivity and efficiency by using modern wireless networking technology.

    Moxa, Paul Hsu, Product Manager, Industrial Wireless Division
  • Experience with Network Anomaly Detection on Industrial Networks

    Industrial networks are routinely described as smaller and more stable than typical enterprise networks and so should be good candidates for anomaly-based intrusion detection. This article describes simple network anomaly detectors attached to industrial networks. The anomaly detector looks only at IP addresses and TCP/UDP ports. At each site, a manual calibration/learning process is undertaken to identify network traffic that complies with the site's security policies. All other traffic triggers alarms.

    This article summarizes experience with anomaly detection at a number of sites. A surprising finding is the degree of customer interest in understanding and reviewing traffic flows identified by the anomaly detection system. Many control systems are small enough to make such manual review feasible with the anomaly detection tool. The article describes traffic which surprised site personnel, and describes remediations which were initiated as a result of the observed traffic. The article concludes that some industrial networks described are large enough to be difficult to characterize manually. Some automatic learning or characterization is desirable for such networks, but only if such characterization is amenable to manual review.

    Industrial Defender
  • The Real Cause of Alarm Problems

    This technical paper notes the many factors that impact the performance of an alarm system and where alarm management fits in.

    TiPS Incorporated
  • Alarm Trips: The Ups and Downs

    This white paper features extensive information on various types of alarm trips, their effective applications and safety factors, and addresses other considerations that need to be made when implementing an alarm trip strategy.

    Moore Industries
  • A Fresh Look at Alarm Performance Metrics

    This white paper shows how using a good mix of all types of alarm performance metrics builds a better foundation from which to evaluate the performance of alarm systems.

    Tips Incorporated
  • The Top 10 Worst Performing Alarm Systems in the Industry

    Since 1994, PAS has benchmarked hundreds of alarm systems in various industrial markets around the world. From our project databases, this paper presents examples of the worst, most overloaded alarm systems encountered. In addition, the possible solutions to these problems are discussed.

    Alarm Management is the current "hot topic" in the process industries. Overloaded and poorly performing DCS alarm systems are common and have been identified as contributing factors in several major accidents including those at BP Texas City in 2005 and Texaco Pembroke refinery in the UK in 1994.

    To improve an alarm system, it is essential to perform an initial benchmark. Benchmarking a system has many benefits. It provides a basis to compare a system against industry best practices as well as a reference point to measure improvements at the end of an alarm management project. Other benefits include creating solid data driven analysis to communicate the state of the alarm system to appropriate stakeholders at a site, and justify further investment in alarm system improvement. Finally, a significant benefit in a benchmark study is the identification of bad acting alarms. As a standard practice, PAS identifies bad acting alarms in the initial benchmark report. Our experience indicates that breakthrough gains can be realized simply by resolving the bad acting alarms.

    There are several different alarm problems to examine, with differing solutions. In performing these analyses, some amazing phenomena have been documented, presented here as examples of how bad things can get.

  • Alarm Management Blunders: Avoiding 12 Costly Mistakes

    Sam Levenson said, "You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself." When it comes to alarm management, Levenson is correct. Ineffective alarm systems pose a serious risk to safety, the environment, and plant profitability. Too often, alarm system effectiveness is unknowingly undermined by poorly configured alarms. Static alarm settings can't adapt to dynamic plant conditions and many other nuisances result in alarm floods that overwhelm operators just when they most need concise direction.

    Operators and engineers in the process control industry have become increasingly aware of the value that alarm management solutions offer. Alarm systems are the primary tool for identifying abnormal situations and helping plant personnel take timely, appropriate action to move the process back to operational targets.

    As alarm management solutions become more common, our understanding of the factors that impede their success has grown. If you're thinking of undertaking an alarm management solution, or if you have already started one, the following information based on lessons learned, can help drive your project to success.

  • Selecting the Optimum Motion Control Solution for the Application

    The machine with the optimum motion control will help the end user improve the bottom line through labor reduction, higher throughput, and faster return on investment. Motion control that is easy to use and set up, straightforward to troubleshoot, and backed by a quality support team adds to the advantages of the physical solution.

    The successful machine builder develops products that offer superior price, performance, reliability, and the ability for their customers to lower direct labor costs. The machine builder's reputation for quality and support also influences a buyer's decision, as does the total cost of ownership. /p>

    The majority of machine builders today incorporate into their machines off-the-shelf control components such as PLCs, HMI, and I/O. These components and systems offer the best price/performance ratio in the industry's history. The same price/performance advantages apply to motion control technology for both pneumatic and electric powered motion. Motion control is far more complex, however, compared to discrete control. Selecting the correct motion control component or system for the application is not simply a matter of counting I/O and sizing the controller to match. The choice involves mechanics, the physics of speed and acceleration, and the electronics of precision control.

    Each motion control application is a mix of considerations. For example, the back and forth repetitive motion of a cutting knife requires a far simpler and less expensive solution than the complex multi-axis movement of delicate silicon wafers. In terms of motion control, machine builders can use air pressure - pneumatics - or electrical energy to drive the motion of mechanical actuators. One machine may be based on pneumatic motion, electric motion, or a combination of both. The electricallypowered motion control market is growing faster than that of pneumatics because the price/performance ratio of electrically driven motion control has improved dramatically. The human perception that electronics can meet every need also plays a role.

    Even with the bias toward electric powered motion control, it is important to understand that both pneumatic and electric powered mechanical motion offer a sweet spot in terms of applications. Pneumatic and electric powered motion control forms an application continuum from lower to higher cost and from lower to higher precision. Knowing where, when, and why to apply one form over the other gives the MACHINE BUILDER, and ultimately the end user, the greatest potential for optimum productivity and lowest total cost of ownership.

    Festo, Joseph Biondo
  • Improving Manufacturing Performance Through Intelligent Safety System Design

    Ask any production line manager about the importance of safety and they will likely tell you about the critical role it plays in helping to protect personnel, reduce injuries and meet compliance demands. These are all valid objectives, but manufacturers and machine builders are missing opportunities if they only focus on avoiding negative consequences rather than striving for greater performance - e.g. increased productivity, improved competitiveness and overall profitability.

    Historically, the industry viewed safety practices as punitive actions or compliance activities, not as opportunities to deliver real value or gain a competitive edge. These days, however, manufacturers understand that a well-designed safety system can help improve their efficiency and productivity, and machine builders increasingly recognize how safety systems can improve both business and machine performance, helping differentiate themselves to potential customers.

    The combination of functional safety standards, new safety technologies and innovative design approaches are positioning safety as a core system function that can deliver significant business and economic value. This includes financial returns beyond the benefits of reducing costs associated with accidents and medical expenses.

    George Schuster, CFSE, Senior Industry Consultant, Safety and Sustainability Solutions, Rockwell Automation
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