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4:06 am
July 22, 2016
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Portable, ‘Industry-First’ Fluke 3500 FC Series Condition Monitoring System Goes Anywhere, Anytime and So Can Its Users


Fluke (Everett, WA) has begun accepting pre-orders on what it says is another “industry first.” The company’s new 3500 FC Series Condition Monitoring System incorporates portable wireless sensors and a gateway for connectivity that provide continuous monitoring of electrical and temperature measurements.

How It Works
The system includes sensors for voltage, amps, temperature, and power that can be moved from asset to asset and left in place for over four weeks. Once deployed, they begin collecting and streaming valuable equipment data that authorized personnel can access from anywhere, anytime, through mobile devices or computers.

With the Fluke Connect Condition Monitoring Software, measurements from each sensor are taken as frequently as every second and sent to cloud-based storage. Viewed through a dashboard, those measurements provide history of equipment performance before, during, and after an events.

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 10.44.16 PMAccording to the manufacturer, this veritable Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) “toolbox” is easy to use and fast and easy to install. The system scales to any plant, whether its equipment is aging, yet crucial, or new, complex, and, accordingly, more challenging to maintain.

Using straightforward Fluke technology, technicians can set up and start monitoring equipment in a matter of minutes, even in tight, difficult-to-reach spots. They merely place the sensors and walk away (for up to 40 days).

The  3500 FC Series Condition Monitoring System works with the already extensive (and growing) Fluke Connect system of portable, wireless tools and asset-management software that, among other things, allows users to receive alarms, save measurements, and create work orders from a smart phone, tablet, or computer.

For more information on Fluke’s new 3500 FC Series offering and/or to pre-order, CLICK HERE.



6:00 pm
July 20, 2016
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IIoT Hype and Reality: Caterpillar Dips a Toe in Alternative Reality Technology

160720catlogoI recently interviewed former VP of research at IDC, Joe Barkai, about his new book, “The Outcome Economy: How the Industrial Internet of Things is Changing Every Business.” In our chat — which will appear on our IIoT page very soon — Barkai made a point about the very real transformative effect of IIoT on manufacturing but he worries about the hype.

As we discussed older equipment and the challenges in adding sensors, Barkai said:

But in many industries we need to be much more realistic and again, this is where some of those British headlines trouble me from time to time. By 2020, we’ll have five trillion devices connected and I’m looking at this, what does this number mean? First off, nobody knows. Secondly, what do you mean – all devices, all five trillion devices will be connected to each other?

Yesterday, a UK article from appeared in my news feed and the hype alert went off  — such as ‘the revolution that will see billions of connected devices.’ However, the article had some “meat on the bone” for operations and maintenance folks.

The article describes how Caterpillar is testing tablets and alternate reality (AR) technology that offer visual overlays to allow maintenance techs to “see” operation and maintenance steps from their devices:

On stage in Boston, Heppelmann and Terri Lewis, Caterpillar’s digital and technology director, demonstrated how AR could work in an industrial environment. Using a connected Caterpillar generator set, the pair showed how a handheld tablet could provide an AR overlay on the equipment, providing step-by-step guides for operation and maintenance.

“When our customers rent our products, they want to make sure it can run,” said Lewis. “They want the whole experience of rental to be easy… They can also connect remotely to the product, understand where it’s at, know whether it’s being used and if it’s ready to be used.”

It’s also an interesting read on Bosch’s internal IIoT activities and how they want to move some of these home-grown products to market. Onward and upward.


3:15 am
July 13, 2016
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Schneider Electric Retrofill Solution Fits Just Right in Space-Constrained 5kV Vacuum Switchgear Applications

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 11.25.03 AMSchneider Electric (Andover, MA) has introduced a 26-in.-Wide Draw-Out Breaker Retrofill Solution for 5-kilovolt (kV) vacuum switchgear applications. Featuring an innovative smaller cell, it’s said to offer a cost-effective option for addressing switchgear applications with space restrictions.

According to the manufacturer, the new product can be applied in any 5kV application, up to 2000 amps/350 mega volt amps (MVA), without the need to replace or change the switchgear lineup. These capabilities, along with the solution’s smaller footprint, allow for fast, efficient upgrades of existing electrical equipment without the high cost or lengthy downtime of traditional replacement.

Fully tested to IEEE C37.59, this space-saving product works with Schneider Electric’s standard VR remote racking system for added safety in switchgear operation. While there’s no need for a mechanical-operated cell switch, the solution does include a truck-operated cell switch, which is wired through a secondary contact and requires less maintenance. The product is also available with six current transformers (CTs) mounted in the breaker compartment and an optional breaker cart.

To learn more about this and other Schneider Electric upgrade solutions and services, CLICK HERE.


3:02 am
July 12, 2016
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White Paper | Should IIoT Be Built Top-Down or Ground-Up?

July 11, 2016

There’s been a lot of discussions lately on how Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) should be structured for success with the Industrial Internet of Things. Should it be a top-down approach coming from IT or a bottom-up operational perspective for adding more monitoring and enterprise visibility.

However, Inductive Automation’s white paper on the OT/IT topic points out that a nimble plant monitoring platform can be a key enabler for larger enterprises (below):

Unlike most SCADA solutions, the ideal IIoT platform must exhibit extreme agility and flexibility — no proprietary solutions, no locked data, and no unneeded frustrations. The ideal IIoT platform must be able to adapt quickly to a wide range of industries and applications without hindering current enterprise infrastructures. Furthermore, it should be capable of making changes without interrupting current processes and workflow.

A recent case application from Chobani Yogurt shows how the right platform can create an IIoT environment. The platform is the Ignition SCADA platform, and the story shows how it increased monitoring for operations and maintenance (O&M).

Recent article in Automation World:

The recently added packaging KPIs show how quickly the Inductive Automation SCADA platform can expand monitoring capabilities for this global food producer. The server-based SCADA software has a built-in Python scripting engine that allows users to implement graphic script builders and avoid writing script to display operational parameters, such as changing properties.

More KPIs help operations and maintenance monitor the dense Greek yogurt processing that has twice the amount of solids compared with more traditional U.S. yogurts.

Download White Paper Here >>


10:08 pm
July 11, 2016
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EAO Brings Series 45 Complete Product Selector to North America

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 5.00.55 PMHuman Machine Interface (HMI) leader EAO (Shelton, CT) has announced the launch of its Series 45 Complete Product Selector for engineers and designers within North America.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 4.53.24 PMAccording to the company, this product selector was created to “simplify the customer experience” by providing 24/7 access to EAO’s Series 45 products. Customers will have quick access to a library of complete part numbers and supporting technical resources. An all-inclusive “Omni-channel” approach provides the same user experience on both desktop and mobile websites.

How It Works
A single, intuitive tool, EAO’s interactive Series 45 Product Selector presents the user with options to parametrically search completely configured kits with single part numbers, view product images and dimensional drawings, insert and download 3D files, and, ultimately, provide guidance to available inventory and outlets for purchase.

Specific features and capabilities include, among others:

  • Straightforward, efficient selection by key HMI functions, series, technical specification, etc.
  • A new globally recognized “complete part number” system
  • A streamlined interactive 3-D viewer and library of online tools.

For more information, CLICK HERE.


8:53 pm
July 11, 2016
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High-Amp Meltric CS1000 Series Devices Get UL 1691 Approval

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.50.15 PMFranklin, WI-based Meltric Corp. has announced that its CS1000 Series of High Amperage Single Pole Plugs and Connectors is now approved for listing in accordance with UL 1691, the component certification standard for Single Pole Locking-Type Separable Connectors.

Devices in the company’s CS1000 Series are typically specified in Non-Load Break applications up to 400A at 600VAC, 600VDC (in North America), and 1000 VAC/1500 VDC (in Europe – CE rated). Meltric notes that these items offer a high level of safety, usability, reliability, performance, and durability in harsh operating conditions.

Features and capabilities include:

  • Solid silver-nickel contact material provides superior performance and corrosion resistance
  • Spring-loaded, butt-style contact technology ensures optimal contact pressure and withstands over 2000 operations
  • IP66/IP67 environmental protection for wet, corrosive environments
  • IP2X finger protection that protects users from live parts
  • Mechanical keying system prevents insertion of the wrong phases
  • Locking pin that prevents accidental disconnection, and a plug/receptacle that accepts different cable sizes.

For more information on the Meltric’s CS1000 Series, CLICK HERE.

More About Meltric
Meltric Corp. (Franklin, WI) manufactures a complete line of industrial plugs and receptacles, including UL/CSA switch-rated plugs and receptacles. The company is the North American manufacturer and distributor of Marechal Corp.’s industrial duty plugs/receptacles that were first designed in the 1950s to eliminate the safety hazards posed by pin and sleeve devices. 


7:41 pm
July 11, 2016
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AutomationDirect Expands NEMA-Rated Enclosure Lineup

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.37.25 PMAutomationDirect (Cumming, GA)  has expanded its extensive line of Hubbell Wiegmann enclosures with additional NEMA 3R and NEMA 12 models.

NEMA 3R Designs
Typically used in outdoor wiring and junction-box applications, NEMA 3R enclosures offer protection against falling rain, sleet, snow, and external ice formation. Used indoors, they protect against dripping water. According to AutomationDirect, this style of enclosure doesn’t have a gasketed sealing surface; some models have hasps for padlocking. New models include galvanized steel units, and larger sizes with hinge covers.

NEMA 12 Designs
NEMA 12 enclosures are primarily used indoors for  automation control and electronic drives systems. Designed to prevent the ingress of dust, moisture, and oil, they feature gasketed doors to seal the enclosure’s contents from airborne contaminants and non-pressurized water and oil. AutomationDirect offers these enclosures  in sizes from small wall mounts to two-door floor mount models.

To learn more, CLICK HERE.


8:03 pm
July 7, 2016
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Industrial Growth Partners Acquires Des-Case Parent

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.15.47 PMIndustrial Growth Partners (IGP), a San Francisco-based private equity firm, has acquired the parent company of  lubricant-contamination-control leader Des-Case Corp. (Goodlettesville, TN).

With a 20-yr. history in the industrial sector, and $2.2 billion in capital raised since inception, IGP has extensive experience building global manufacturing businesses. According to the company, it concentrates  on leading niche manufacturers of engineered products used in critical applications, and partners with their management teams to pursue strategic initiatives focused on achieving long-term shareholder value.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.19.40 PMFounded in 1983 when it brought the first desiccant breather to market, Des-Case now provides an array of  fluid-cleanliness products, services, and training that improve equipment reliability and extend lubricant life in industrial plants around the globe. It, in fact, has enjoyed the growth-opportunity benefits of private-equity investments since 2013, when it was acquired by Pfingsten Partners L.L.C.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 2.20.35 PMIn 2014, Des-Case announced its own acquisition of the visual-oil-analysis line of ESCO Products Inc., the well-known, family-owned, Houston-based manufacturer of various  fluid-monitoring technologies and distributor of Copaltite and Dow Corning products. The acquired portfolio included ESCO’s 3-D BullsEye Viewport, oil sight glasses, indicators and level monitors.

“I am honored and excited to be a part of writing the next chapter in the Des-Case growth story alongside our valued customers, partners and investors,” noted company president and CEO Brian Gleason. “IGP has over two decades of experience investing in the industrial sector with a proven track record of building world-class global businesses. We are looking forward to the partnership.”

Other than the report that Des-Case’s management team has retained a substantial ownership stake in the company, terms of the July 6, 2016 transaction haven’t been disclosed.

For more information on Des-Case, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Industrial Growth Partners, CLICK HERE.