Advanced Nanomechanical Characterization Centre Opens in India

Nanomechanics Inc., the world’s leading provider of nano-mechanical testing equipment, announced the establishment of the Advanced Nanomechanical Characterization Centre (ANCC) in Hyderabad,...
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Researchers Produce Graphene Membrane for Dialysis Applications

By definition, dialysis is a process in which molecules are filtered out of a solution by getting diffused through a membrane into a comparatively dilute solution. Apart from hemodialysis in which...
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Crossing the river – and how!

This one of those stories which we wonder should we post or not as it is hardly strictly process automation or test & measurement. We have decided to include it because it is technologically interesting as well as an innovative application.

Since 19 November urban mobility in the Breton city of Brest (F) has been boosted by two cable cars carrying up to 60 people who travel more than 400 meters above the River Penfeld, with a power consumption that is potentially close to zero. Supported by Leroy-Somer (now part of Nidec Corporation) , the companies Bartholet France and Seirel are behind this achievement which is a world first in terms of technology.

Brest Métropole wants to refocus the city over the banks of the River Penfeld. The cable car system is aimed at strengthening the trade links between both sides of the river. With a range of 420 meters it links the city center with the new Capucins district, which has been built on 16 hectares of former military grounds. The structure designed in accordance with original and innovative technology where the two lines cross over each other via a “flyover” system is a first internationally. The two cable cars cross over each other instead of passing each other at the same level as traditional cable cars do, and they then arrive at the same platform. The scale of the system and the stations, including the ground required, are reduced as a result, thereby also resulting in a reduction in overall civil engineering costs. This is a particular benefit in an urban environment where space is limited. This innovative approach enabled preservation of the Capucins station building, which is protected as a national historical monument. As such the cable cars cross one single steel pylon which integrates into the surrounding environment of dockyards and their cranes. Each car is attached to two carrying cables 50mm in diameter stretched to 88 tones. The counterweight effect generally observed on mountain installations is avoided as the cable cars move simultaneously over most of the route.

Low power consumption
One of the challenges posed by Brest Métropole involved implementing a solution with low power consumption. The idea was therefore to recover the braking energy, but the energy operators have not yet systematically developed the full potential for reinjection of current into their network. The legislative framework provides for this, for solar energy production for instance, but certainly does not do this when the system consumes and reinjects current over very short cycles, as is the case in Brest. The solution therefore consisted in storing energy in super capacity batteries when the cable cars are descending, in order to then reuse this energy for the subsequent ascent.

The project was awarded to Bartholet France for the cable car system, and to Seirel, an expert in electrical equipment and safety automation, for the transportation via cable. “We made contact with several suppliers, and only Leroy-Somer had the experience with this type of application, and was also able to provide all of the electromechanical components”, explains Thomas Savin, project manager for Seirel Automatismes.

The IMfinity LC motor from Leroy-Somer drives the traction cables.

The heart of the system, i.e. the drive for the traction cables, is driven by two latest generation Leroy-Somer IMfinity LC 315 asynchronous motors (300kW, 1500rpm, 460V) with liquid cooling, assembled as master-slave on the same shaft. This installation provides the additional option of double redundancy since just one of the two motors is enough to continue operations in degraded mode (low speed). The motors are controlled by two Leroy-Somer Powerdrive MD2S inverters, which are in turn supplied by Powerdrive MD2R active front-end rectifiers connected to the power network. A DC converter, also from the Leroy-Somer range, enables management of the operations for the M65V385F supercapacitors developed by Blue Solutions (Bolloré Group). The supercapacitors have been specially designed to meet the needs of industrial applications requiring high power ratings. Meeting the most demanding functional specifications, they charge and discharge in just a few seconds and provide service lives of several hundred thousand cycles.

“This achievement would not have been possible without Leroy-Somer’s expertise in project engineering”, says Guillaume Bourgoint, marketing applications manager for Leroy-Somer. “Through relying on a huge range of motors and variable speed drives based on different technologies, we are able to offer our clients custom solutions in terms of drive and automation systems. As such, linking the IMfinity LC motor, characterized by silent power, with the Powerdrive MD2 inverter, with custom power, seemed like the obvious solution to us given the specifications and constraints of the application”.

“We appreciated Leroy-Somer sharing its expertise and helping us during the project design phase with its solution-based approach and experience. What’s more, having just one single point of contact responsible for all of the moving components was the perfect guarantee for us in a project as groundbreaking as this one. We specifically wanted one single supplier for the motors and their controls. We have traditionally used a different brand of converter, but configuring the Powerdrive MD2 from Leroy-Somer turned out to be child’s play”, adds Thomas Savin.

In the event of network loss, an emergency mode using an electric generator with a LSA 44.3 low voltage alternator, also manufactured by Leroy-Somer, enables the cable cars to be returned to the stations. Safety has been reviewed right down to the last detail in order to ensure protection against any eventualities.

“This is the first time a cable car system has included an energy recovery solution with batteries. This achievement is a direct reflection of our company, which is able to position itself on more complex engineering projects, and will no doubt be an inspiration for other projects around the globe”, explains Nicolas Chapuis, Managing Director at Bartholet France.

Silent and compact
“Another challenge in the project was that the area available for installing the motors was in the immediate proximity of the passengers. The project’s groundbreaking industrial design meant that the motors are just a few centimeters behind a glass cabinet visible to users. The equipment therefore had to be silent and compact for the purposes of the site ergonomics and for passenger comfort. Once again Leroy-Somer stood out against the competitors in this area too with its IMfinity LC motor solutions”, adds Nicolas Chapuis.

With liquid cooling, the IMfinity LC asynchronous motors are up to 25% more compact than a motor cooled using air with equivalent power. Their sound level is also reduced by 10 to 20 dB, thereby enabling optimum acoustic discretion. This benefit is explained by the efficiency of the cooling circuit which surrounds the motor system entirely. Its dependable design and Premium IE3 energy efficiency make it one of the most accomplished motors in the IMfinity range. “The LC series, available from 150kW to 1.5MW, is ideal for all cases where the motor is close to the operators or users of the application. It meets the increasingly urgent need for acoustic comfort related to working equipment for teams in workshops or for users located nearby”, explains Guillaume Bourgoint.

Significant benefits
The route for this cable car system is particularly suitable for an energy recovery system, as it is implemented initially during ascent and then during descent, with the departure and arrival points both being at an equivalent altitude. Energy is consumed in order to arrive at the line’s summit point. Once this point has been crossed, the descent phase constitutes a source of braking energy that can be reinjected into the system in order to supply the ascent once again, thereby resulting in a very significant reduction in energy costs.

“This achievement could potentially be used as an example for other industrial applications, such as for lifting”, explains Thomas Savin. “The theoretical energy savings amount to more than 90%, but the main obstacle today relates to the supercapacitors. Here we sized them in order to store around half of the energy required, and this itself represents an investment of 200,000 euros. This cost will probably fall rapidly in the near future”.

A porthole provides the braver passengers with a vertical view of the cable car’s route!

@Leroy_Somer #PAuto #France #Transport


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Permission to change and develop in the Life Sciences!

• Enjoy a unique environment to meet and gain input from all stake holders on industry direction, challenges and solutions.
• Shape your strategy on the way solutions should be developed and applied in your facility
• Understand how partnering can take you further, faster and with reduced risk
• Experience hands on demonstrations of automation equipment and packages.

The invitation was interesting, and challenging. “Future.Now – Developing the Life Sciences Landscape Together” was an arresting title. It was a co-operative event between National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) and Emerson. We were invited to “Boost your knowledge, gain from the experience of others and increase your professional network at NIBRT state of the art facility in Dublin!”

Mike Train, Executive President with Emerson explains their focus under the attentive eye of European President Roel Van Doren.

This correspondent was aware of the NIBRT facility but had very little idea of what it was real function or its relevance to Irish industry. This was an opportunity find out. Further looking through the programme two things became apparent. One was the calibre of personnel speaking from the Emerson organisation and then the application rather than product orientation of the various sessions.

It proved to be a very interesting two days.

Day 1: Working together towards a common future.
Presentations from NIBRT, Industrial Development Authority (IDA), GSK, Alexion, Zeton, Novo Nordisk and Emerson Automation Solutions.

Pharma v Biopharma

After a short welcome fro Emerson Europe President, Roel Van Doren, the CEO of NIBRT, Dominic Carolan, outlined the foundation and raison d’etre of the organisation. It is a training and research in the area of bioprocessing. It is located in a new, world class facility in Dublin (IRL). As medical science advances “simple” chemistry, while still essential, is not fully capable of solving all health issues – Pharma versus Biopharma. Bioprocessing is a specific process that uses complete living cells or their components (e.g., bacteria, enzymes, chloroplasts) to obtain desired products.

Thus this facility exists to support the growth and development of all aspects of the biopharmaceutical industry in Ireland. It is purpose built to closely replicate a modern bioprocessing plant with state of the art equipment.

Making Ireland ready – a good news story.
Dr Chantelle Keirnan, Scientific Advisor with the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), described the far-seeing intuitive initiative to look at bioprocessing “before it was profitable or popular!” This state body is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland and had been extraordinarily successful in attracting nine of the top ten pharma companies to set up manufacturing processing plants in Ireland. They considered at the turn of the century that bioprocessing was the way that life science was going and took steps to ensure that Ireland was ready. One of those steps was the provision of Government funding of NIBRT.

Togged out for the tour

Many of the delegates – in excess of one hundred attended some from other countries – donned white coats and took the opportunity to tour the impressive facility during the event. It includes a purpose-built, multi-functional building which replicates the most modern industrial bioprocessing facility. Some idea of this facility may be gleaned from their website here.

This is a good news story. How often are decisions of state organisations regarded, not entirely without justification, with a jaundiced eye? Those that are good are “oft interréd with their bones!” The vision that saw this development in industry and the individuals who having caught the ball ran with it and brought it so successfully to fruition is worthy of equal attention and praise.

The rest of the day was an examination of the industry, processes and looking into the future. Mike Train, Executive President of Emerson spoke on the changes that are influencing industry and his company’s focus. We are facing “an evolution not a revolution” he stated, a point emphasised by other speakers throughout the day. He also stressed the importance for giving permission to change. (See full list of speakers at below.)

Pictures from the event!

We then had a series of speakers from the industry, people who get their hands dirty so to speak in actual processing speaking of their experiences and challenges. Speakers from GSK and Novo Nordisk explored areas like partnership, legacy issues, building on or expanding existing plants, saving energy, wireless. There was some discussion on the cloud and its advantages and just how vulnerable it might be to security breaches.

The discussion on handling all this data and identifying and retrieving those pieces of data which are really useful to the process brought to mind the prophetic words of the American media theorist, Neil Postman years ago, “…a central thesis of computer technology – that the principal difficulty we have in solving problems stems from insufficient data – will go unexamined. Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed of light retrieval of data have been of great value to large scale organisations but have solved very little of importance to most people and have created at least as many problems for them as they have solved…” (Neil Postman: “Amusing ourselves to death:” 1985)

Peter Zornio, Chief Technology Officer with Emerson gave their philosophy in meeting the demands of “Life Science Visions.” He lauded the various discussion groups such as the Biopharma Operations Group in helping how to keep up to date with technology and fostering new ideas.

We are on a digitizing journey. Moving from manual and paper to digital recording and control.

Day 2: “New Technology, New Processes, New solutions!”
Presentations from BioPharmaChem, GSK, Infinity Automation and Emerson.

The day started with a presentation on modular flexible manufacturing – introducing the PK Controller and a little later in the day there was an exposition on DeltaV Discovery/DeltaV 14 in maintaining data and transferning and easing technology transfer through the life cycle of drug development.

In his second presentation Peter Zornio gave the business case behing IIoT. IoT is usually referring to domestic, building environment and other civil applications. But it is also useful in the industrial environment where it is referred to as IIoT. Initially it was a link up at the instrument and control area but of late it is spreading to the portfolio of sensors. Their emphasis is on “the first mile!” (This is a backward reference to the perennial problem in many, especially rural, areas of “the last mile” – the internet connection directly into the home! – a heart felt sigh from your correspondent!)

The Real Challenges!

Ian Allen of Infinity Automation spoke on challenges to the life science automation world. “Don’t go backward to go forward” he said. We must use things like data integrity, cyber security, Microsoft dependencies and Industrie 4.0 as “gifts to leverage the opportunity and change!” The real challenge is not so much the technology but our use of it. We were coming back to “permission for change!”

We might perhaps use the words of the Bard of Avon, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves….”  The “gifts” are there. The Technology is there or on the way.

Let’s own these gifts and make them our own.

 

Pic: Travis Hesketh


The Speakers:

Day 1
Dominic Carolan
CEO – NIBRT
Dominic Carolan was appointed CEO of NIBRT in April 2015. Mr. Carolan previously held senior roles in Mallinckrodt (Dublin), Genzyme (Waterford), also Genzyme (Corporate) where he was Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, and in Sanofi, where he headed their global network of Sterile Injectable Lyophilisation sites. He has successfully lead the startup of two significant Pharma & BioPharma facilities in Ireland and has a proven track record in operations leadership and in attracting and developing the talent required to deliver long term success. A graduate of UCD in Chemical Engineering, Mr. Carolan was Chairman of BioPharmaChemical Ireland from 2008-2010.
Dr Chantelle Kiernan
Scientific Advisor – IDA

Dr. Chantelle Kiernan joined IDA in September of 2009 and is responsible for attracting research related foreign direct investment for Ireland. Chantelle has responsibility for the Multinational research portfolio – spanning Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, Medical Device, Engineering Food services industries. Chantelle has spent her career equally dispersed between academia and industry. She holds a PhD in Immunology from Trinity College Dublin in the area of immunomodulation and continued her academic career with a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Harvard University, Boston. Chantelle is currently undertaking an MSc in International Business law. She has spent almost fifteen years in industry. In her current role as Scientific Advisor for the IDA, she has been integrally involved in attracting and securing large scale R&D foreign direct investments for Ireland.

Mike Train
Executive President – Emerson Automation Solutions
Michael H. Train leads the Automation Solutions business of Emerson, which posted sales of $ 10.2 billion in fiscal 2015. Train began his career with Emerson in 1991 as an international planner, then took on additional responsibilities in a number of executive posts that included serving as President of Emerson Japan and Korea, VP of Corporate Planning, President of Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific, and President of Emerson’s Rosemount business. He was most recently President of Global Sales for Emerson Process Management, responsible for sales, service, support, and customer satisfaction for all products and services across five world-area organizations. In that role he was also part of the leadership team that drove strategic initiatives and investments for the entire business group. Train earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute and an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He currently serves on the management school’s advisory council and was a 2008 Eisenhower Fellowship recipient.
Dave Tudor
Vice President, Head of GMS Strategy – GSK
Dave joined GSK in 1992 at Worthing as a PhD Chemist from Glasgow University. He has over 20 years’ experience with the company carrying out a number of Technical, Compliance and Manufacturing leadership roles. In 1997 he moved to Irvine to take up a lead chemist role before coming Quality Control Manager in 1998. He joined the site leadership team in 2001 to run Technical Development before moving to manufacturing as Actives Production Director in 2005. During this time he completed a Masters degree in Manufacturing Leadership at Cambridge University. In 2007 he moved to GSK House to work on a central network re-structuring project before becoming Site Director at Montrose in October 2008. At Montrose, he led the transformation of the site to manufacture over 12 products for GSK including a major investment programme. In 2011 he was appointed VP Primary Supply Chain with responsibility for global Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) manufacture and supply, a network of GMS sites across the world including facilities in Asia and Europe. In 2017 he was appointed VP Head of GMS Strategy with responsibility for manufacturing strategy, deployment of strategic programmes, performance management and advocacy. He plays an active role with a number of Governments and is currently co-chair of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group. Dave is also a member of UK Chemicals Industry Association Council and Board. Dave is married with 4 children and lives in Troon, Ayrshire. He enjoys all sports, particularly football, is a keen reader of Scottish history and does cooking to relax.
Peter Zornio
Chief Strategic Officer – Emerson Automation Solutions
As Chief Strategic Officer for Emerson Automation Solutions, Peter has responsibility for overall coordination of technology programs, product and portfolio direction, and industry standards across the Automation Solutions group. He has direct responsibility for the product definition and development organizations for control systems and software products. He has been at Emerson for 10 years. Prior to Emerson, he spent over 20 years at Honeywell in a variety of technology and marking roles, most recently as overall product management leader. Peter holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Herman Bottenberg
Marketing Director,, Zeton

PDEng. Ir. Herman Bottenberg is a chemical engineer with 15+ years of industrial experience, along with two years of Post academic work on Plant Design. He worked for 17 years at Zeton B.V. in The Netherlands, with five years of experience in project engineering and project management. The last 12 years he has been active in business development, sales and marketing. Since 2016 Herman is also responsible for the Marketing and Sales group at Zeton B.V. Herman has specialised in transformation of processes from batch to continuous, process intensification and modular processing plants for pharma and chemical industry.

Day 2
 Matt Moran
Director – BioPharmaChem Ireland
Matthew Moran is Director of BioPharmaChem Ireland. He graduated in Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin in 1980 and in Chemical Engineering at University College Dublin in 1981; he holds an MBA also from University College Dublin (Smurfit School of Business). He worked for over ten years in the pharmaceutical industry where he held a number of management positions both in active ingredient and dosage form manufacture. He is a member the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC). Matthew Moran is a Board member of the Active Pharmaceuticals Ingredients (API) Committee of CEFIC (CEFIC/APIC) and The European Association for Bioindustries (Europabio) BioPharmaChem Ireland represents the interests of the biopharmachem sector in Ireland. CEFIC/APIC represents the European API Industry. Europabio represents the European Biotech Sector.
Ian Allan
Automation Consultant – Infinity Automation
Currently the Managing Director of Infinity Automation, a relatively new company carrying out Automation & MES Consultancy, Strategic Planning and Major Program/Project Health checks, with blue chip Global Life Science companies and Strategic vendors that support that Industry. Formerly Ian was the Global Head of Automation & MES with Novartis, where he was responsible for the Manufacturing Automation Strategy and MES Program within Technical Operations in the Vaccines division.  Prior to that he worked for GSK as Global Automation Director responsible for Automation, Process Control and MES across 73 sites worldwide. There he led a team that developed a library of Emerson DeltaV modules to be deployed in multiple Bulk API sites across the world, as well as developing a blueprint for MES integration and Network delivery of Electronic Batch Records. Prior to that he held several roles in GSK within the Engineering and Automation departments. Ian started his career with IBM as a junior engineer when computers were a little bigger than they are today and holds a BSc in Electrical & Control Engineering from Strathclyde University. He is currently facilitating GSK’s Global Automation Steering Team and is leading the Digital Factory Automation workstream for a new Hybrid Manufacturing platform with the first instance being delivered in GSK Singapore Jurong site.
Colin Chapman
Director of Manufacturing IT – GSK
Colin Chapman is a Chemical Engineer with nearly 20 years experience in Life Sciences with GSK. Colin’s career has spanned across process engineering & automation, operations and new product introduction in both commercial manufacturing and clinical supply chains. In his current role as Director of Manufacturing IT Colin has successfully led the introduction of Manufacturing Operations Management across the clinical supply chain driving business process re-engineering and global workflow automation using technologies such as Syncade. GSK’s continuing program focuses on three value drivers, Compliance, Business Intelligence and Productivity.
Klaus Erni
Product Manager & Namur 148 Board Member – Emerson Automation Solutions
Klaus started his Emerson career in 2003 in Germany, where he was working as a Technical Manager for Key Accounts before he transferred to Austin, TX to become the DeltaV Hardware Product Marketing Manager. In 2015, he went back to Europe and took over another Global Role, being now the Technical Consultant to some major Strategic Accounts. While in Germany with Emerson, he was responsible for the technical aspects of the DeltaV Systems during the Sales and Implementation Phase, as well utilizing the latest Hardware and Software features while upgrading and expanding Systems on Key Customer sites. Prior to Emerson, Klaus was with the Hoechst AG, he did several Engineering projects with various PLC and DCS and SIS Systems and was as well a RS3 System User.
Danny Vandeput
Director Pervasive Sensing Strategies – Emerson Automation Solutions
The (Industrial) Internet of Things (IIoT) is revolutionizing the way we live but it also provides many new challenges to the industry. This can create confusion, uncertainty – combined with fuzzy statements – and different opinions. My great passion is to bring clarity in the Industrial Internet of Things and what benefits it can bring for you. I help industries to find the right perception of IIoT, how sensors can maximize profit, reduce downtime and bring the ROI into the IoT. Being already 23 years with Emerson I have assisted many types of industries on their way to Top Quartile Performance. This includes amongst other trainings, workshops, audits and implementing solutions.
#PAuto @EMR_Automation @NIBRT_ #IIoT @HHC_Lewis


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New Off-Grid Desalination NanoTechnology Uses Solar Energy to Convert Salt Water into Drinking Water

An off-grid technology using only the energy from sunlight to transform salt water into fresh drinking water has been developed as an outcome of the effort from a federally funded research. The...
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Sink or swim? Drowning under too much info!

Rachel Cooper, category marketing manager – field services with Schneider Electric on managing the Big Data Flood.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is constantly in the news. That’s understandable since forecasts anticipate that there will soon be tens of billions of connected devices, helping the IoT sector to generate more than £7.5 trillion worth of economic activity worldwide. In fact, according to McKinsey Global, the IoT economic impact on factories, retail settings, work sites, offices and homes could total as much as £3.55 trillion by 2025.

Oil refinery control room screen

One area where the IoT is driving development is in smart buildings. Today’s more complex buildings are generating vast quantities of data, but building management systems (BMS) are not leveraging that data as much as they could, and are not always capturing the right data to make useful decisions. With 42 per cent of the world’s energy consumed by buildings, facility managers face escalating demand for environmentally friendly, high-performance buildings that are efficient and sustainable.  The data collected can help them to achieve this.

However, many facility managers lack the time and resources to investigate the convenient methods that can help them to turn the flood of IoT and other sensor data they’re exposed to, into actionable insights

Forced to do more with less 
Reduced budgets force building owners to manage sophisticated building systems with fewer resources. This issue is further aggravated by older systems becoming inefficient over time. Even when there is sufficient budget, it is increasingly difficult and time-consuming to hire, develop, and retain staff with the skills and knowledge to take advantage of BMS capabilities.

Facility managers also face challenges maintaining existing equipment performance. Components can break or fall out of calibration, and general wear and tear often leads to a marked decline in a building’s operational efficiency. Changes in building use and occupancy can contribute to indoor air-quality problems, uncomfortable environments, and higher overall energy costs. These changes begin immediately after construction is complete.

Owners often undertake recommissioning projects to fine-tune their buildings. Such work is intended to bring the facility back to its best possible operation level. However, recommissioning is often done as a reactive measure, and traditional maintenance may not identify all areas of energy waste. Operational inefficiencies that are not obvious, or that do not result in occupant discomfort, may go undetected.

Upskilling the current workforce
Many tools have come onto the market over the past decade to help employees get a better understanding of their facilities and assist them in their day-to-day operations and long-term planning. This can include anything from dashboards and automated analytics platforms to machine-learning optimisation engines. However, much like the sophisticated BMS platforms available today, for each tool you deploy, more investment is needed in time for training. In fact, research shows that lacking training is evident with roughly only 20 per cent of facility managers using 80 per cent of capabilities available to them within their BMS. The remaining 80 per cent use a very limited amount (20 per cent) of the potential functionality in their system.

With personnel turnover and competing facility-management responsibilities, many facilities are left without staff who have the time to learn the full capabilities of these tools. Of course, outsourcing different functions is one way to overcome these issues. However, vendors must be managed closely to ensure efficacy, and to ensure that outsourcing costs do not accrue significantly as third parties spend more time on-site.

In tech we trust
Technology has become an important part of building management, as BMS play an ever bigger role in how facility managers perform their jobs and operate buildings. Newer technologies like data visualisation dashboards let facility managers view building performance metrics in a single window, helping them to spot trends and gather insights. By visualising data in terms of graphs, charts, and conversion to different equivalents – for example, kWh to pound cost or kWh to carbon footprint, an experienced building operator can manually identify areas of concern for closer inspection.

Yet, while dashboards can be helpful in determining building behaviour, the data is often complex and challenging to interpret. In fact, even if building staff have the time and skills to review and understand the data, dashboard information alone tells only part of the building performance story. Facility managers can identify where inefficiencies exist but usually not why. This requires additional troubleshooting and investigation. Therefore, dashboards are most effective for simple monitoring in environments where there are plenty of trained staff to perform troubleshooting and identify the root causes of issues.

Analytics is the answer 
To gain more from a BMS deployment, many facility managers are turning to data analytics software to interpret large volumes of BMS data. Best-in-class software automatically trends energy and equipment use, identifies faults, provides root-cause analysis, and prioritises opportunities for improvement based on cost, comfort and maintenance impact. This software complements BMS dashboards because it takes the additional step of interpreting the data – showing not just where but why inefficiencies occur. Engineers can then convert this intelligence into “actionable information” for troubleshooting and preventative maintenance, as well as for solving more complicated operational challenges. 

Using this software, facility managers can proactively optimise and commission building operations more effectively than with a BMS alone. It enables them to understand why a building is or isn’t operating efficiently so that they can introduce permanent solutions rather than temporary fixes. For instance, with data analytics, facility managers can proactively identify operational problems such as equipment that needs to be repaired or replaced. Moreover, it can do this before critical failure and before it has an impact on the building occupants. Repairs can be scheduled before an emergency arises, eliminating costly short-notice or out-of-hours replacement and avoiding failure and downtime. With this proactive approach, equipment becomes more reliable, the cost of replacement and repair can be much lower, and occupants are assured of optimal comfort. In fact, by following best practice, they can even reduce HVAC energy costs by up to 30%.

The Future
Smart, connected technology has taken us beyond the human ability to manage what can amount to hundreds of thousands of data points in large buildings. Efficient operations require a proactive response. Analytics solutions effectively manage the new state of information overload created by a digital world and filter out what’s not valuable to you. For example, they can provide insight on how to fix problems when they are first observed, before total failure. This predictive maintenance approach means capital assets can be preserved and significant energy savings can be made. The advent of IoT means that we must shift our approach to facility management in order to deliver against the financial, wellbeing and sustainability targets of today’s facilities. By investing in a sophisticated BMS, users can uncover which data to ignore and which to act upon. After all, data for data’s sake is useless. Being able to use a building’s performance data to augment operational efficiency, increase occupant comfort, and improve overall energy consumption so that the financial well-being of buildings can be sustained, is of paramount importance.

@SchneiderElec #PAuto #IoT


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Have you a Percy Spencer in your operation?

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director at obsolete equipment supplier EU Automation, discusses how manufacturers can use their dark data for commercial benefit.

In 1945, an engineer named Percy Spencer was testing energy sources for radar equipment in a laboratory, when he realised a chocolate bar in his pocket had somehow melted. Not long after, the microwave oven was born. In the manufacturing industry, it is also possible to make accidental discoveries; one avenue which is proving particularly fruitful is the use of dark data. 

The phrase ‘dark data’ is used to refer to information collected by a business but not used for any operational purpose. For manufacturers, the data can be collected during a production process or from business enterprise operations. The phrase is often met with a shudder due to a lack of understanding of what it is how it can be used. However, dark data doesn’t necessarily mean bad data.

In the dawn of Industry 4.0, fast moving manufacturing facilities have become increasingly data heavy environments, with information sourced from machine logs, equipment sensors and even social media and consumer demand. Data comes from a myriad of places – but not all of this data is used effectively.

In many cases, if analysed and integrated with the value chain, dark data can be used to make better decisions. Currently, data can be captured from such a wide range of inputs that the potential to make smarter and faster forecasts and decisions is rapidly increasing, as long as plant managers know where data it is stored and what to do with it.

Data relating to production information and consumer insight can be used to drive innovation or improve quality; this information can be used by designers and engineers to improve customer experience and product performance. However, not all data collected can be used to produce a meaningful result.

Good data vs bad data
Despite the potential benefits, not all data is worth saving as it can be expensive to store and maintain. If the data is customer related, risks can also arise from breaches and unauthorised sharing, damaging a business’s reputation. In some industries, such as pharmaceuticals, there are stricter requirements on the storage and formatting of data. If a pharmaceutical company had an issue with the storage or formatting of its clinical trial data, it could lose valuable insights and may be liable for any losses.

Dark data can offer manufacturers an untapped resource for potential insight, or may be a costly waste of space. To decide whether to make the most of the data or to erase it, companies first need to understand where their dark data is and where it has come from. For most manufacturers data is generated by either staff or equipment before it is stored and forgotten.

Enforcing data policies and training staff on the handling and analysis of data will help companies make better business decisions. If a new machine or system is added, the plant manager should consider what data it will accumulate and how this will be managed. Manufacturers should be aware of where data is coming from and what regulations specify they can keep.

Being more aware of where data is coming from and how it can be used can benefit manufacturers looking to make intelligent business decisions, as well as those who just want to save time and space. With diligent data analysis, who knows, you might even discover something as groundbreaking as the microwave.

@euautomation #PAuto #TandM


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Using Graphene to Enhance the Working of Next-Gen Molecular Electronic Devices

An innovative technique for enhancing the functionality of next-generation molecular electronic devices by making use of graphene has been developed by an international research team headed by the...
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Use of video in data collecting.

A recent survey, conducted by HBM – a leader in the field of test and measurement – shows that video use is accelerating in data collection.

The study shows that almost half of the respondents (47%) already use video in data recording today, while 54% of the respondents expect video use within their organization to increase in the next year.

Video cameras are already used in many test and measurement applications throughout the industry in addition to data collection with traditional tactile sensors. But until now, there has been very little information on the level and nature of this use.

“Based on the study there is no longer any question that recording video data in parallel to tactile sensors or digital bus signals is becoming more and more attractive to users”, commented Christof Salcher, Product Manager Instrumentation at HBM. . “Video supports traditional sensor data and is becoming a valuable source of additional information, making the room for interpretation even narrower in testing”.

In summary, the latest survey by HBM shows:

• Video is most commonly used in structural durability, fatigue testing (48%). Machine monitoring or general lab testing (30%) and mobile data acquisition or road load data acquisitions (28%) are also relatively common areas of application.
• The most common reason for using video in data collection is to gain additional input analyzing unexpected deviations (73%). Other common reasons are decision finding (50%) and visualization of results to management (41%).
• Regular video (such as webcams) is by far the most common equipment for video in data collection. In our survey, 80% of respondents use this type. High speed video is used by over a third of the respondents (36%), often in combination with traditional video.
• Video in data collection is likely to increase substantially in the next years – this is indicated by both sides; by those already using video today and by those who do not. In total, 54% of all the respondents expect video use in data collection within their organization to increase. Among non-users that amounts to 37%.
• Use brings more use – Those already using video are more prone to increase their usage within the next years (76%). Of those 50 respondents expecting to increase their use of video in data, a majority (69%), predicts a substantial growth of 10-50%. None of those already using video expect the video usage to decrease in the next year.

“As the tactile and non-tactile worlds of data collection come together, there is not a question of using either video or traditional sensor data – but of both. Going forward, we will see sensors and video integrated together into data acquisition systems (DAQ) in more application areas over time, bringing valuable additional insight. HBM is very well positioned to face a growing demand in this area, already integrating video into a wide range of our applications,” Christof Salcher concludes.

The survey was conducted in autumn 2016 among 100 respondents from Europe, with an emphasis on the Nordics.

@HBMmeasurement #PAuto


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