Control Engineering Highlights the 40 Best Products of 2000

Control Engineering editors— in the 14th annual process—highlighted the best products of the year, based on technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to industry.Editors selected from among thousands of products mentioned in Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online during year 2000, in nine product categories: Control components; Human-machine interface...


Control Engineering editors— in the 14th annual process—highlighted the best products of the year, based on technological advancement, impact on the market, and service to industry.

Editors selected from among thousands of products mentioned in Control Engineering and Control Engineering Online during year 2000, in nine product categories:

  • Control components;

  • Human-machine interface;

  • Instrumentation and process sensors;

  • Machine control and discrete sensors;

  • Motors, drives, and motion control;

  • Networks and communications;

  • PC-based control;

  • Process and advanced control; and

  • Software and information integration.

Editors presented the awards to the winners in a ceremony, March 4, on the eve of National Manufacturing Week, in Chicago.

Categories match the nine product channels at Control Engineering Online . For more on each winner, see this story online at

Control Components Instrumentation & Process Sensors Process & Advanced Control PC-Based Control Networks & Communications Motors, Drives, & Motion Control Machine Control & Discrete Sensors Human-Machine Interface Software & Information Integration

Modular enclosures provide space efficiency, strength

Springfield, O.— TS8 Modular Enclosures have a strong, rigid 16-fold dual tubular frame. Multi-level mounting provides optimum space efficiency and the symmetrical frame structure allows for complete assembly and configuration flexibility. Other features include quick-assembly accessories, integrated climate control, and integral, continuous electrical bonding for grounding and EMC protection. Rittal

Circle 201

Analyze heat dissipation/ airflow

Hanover, N.H. —Coolit v.3.5 software helps users visualize what happens within control enclosures. The computational fluid dynamics program creates 3-D models that predict heat transfer and airflow within an electronic enclosure. Color-coded temperature distributions identify hot spots, airflow eddies, and blockages. An intuitive graphical user interface makes model creation and analysis easy. Version 3.5 operates on all Microsoft Windows-based platforms. Daat Research Corp.

Circle 200

Bus-based controller works with PLCs, HMIs; eliminates PID blocks

Gurnee, Ill. — MLC9000 bus-based temperature controller integrates temperature and machine control with PLCs or human-machine interfaces (HMI). Modular, DIN- rail-mounted innovation eliminates the need for integrated PID blocks, and multiple, single-loop, panel-mount controllers and communicates directly to the PLC via buses or serial port. MLC9000's other features include 100 msec sample time, built-in heater break alarms, and ability to hot swap single loops. Danaher Controls

Circle 206

Flat-surface contact sensor reduces error

St. Louis, Mo .—True Surface Thermocouple (TST) is a small-profile contact sensor intended for measuring flat-surface temperature in multiple locations. It reduces temperature-sensing errors associated with ambient airflow and includes an isothermal measuring junction for 1/8th the error of common "washer" style thermocouples. A molded insulator protects the isothermal measuring block from ambient flow. TST is rated to 392° F. Watlow

Circle 208

Web-enabled control devices

Santa Ana, Calif. —iSeries controllers, panel meters, transmitters, and signal conditioners claim to be the first web-enabled control devices. They can be connected to an Ethernet network with a RJ-45 connector, and send and receive data in standard TCP/IP packets. iSeries serves web pages over a local Ethernet network or the Internet, for monitoring and control via a web browser. Newport Electronics Inc.

Circle 207

Remotely measure tank levels

City of Industry, Calif. —TankScan Wireless Measurement System for Distributed Inventory Applicaions has a solid-state sensor with weighted, flexible wave guide for continuous fluid level sensing. A battery-powered sensor measures level, transmitting data via radio to receiver/modem. The receiver sends data to a desktop computer via preprogrammed, dial-up modem; PC software manages database and alarm functions, data analysis, reporting, and polling. Without moving parts and wiring maintenance and installation, costs are low. Barton Instruments Systems LLC

Circle 205

Redundancy software backs up critical control

Charlottesville, Va. —Max-ON hot backup redundancy software provides an off-the-shelf configuration solution for applications, such as fuel loading, standby power generation, boiler systems, and manufacturing systems requiring modular critical control. It provides a redundant CPU system without typical program development costs. Max-ON Standard serves up to 1,500 I/O points; Extended, up to 5,000 I/O points and synchronizes Ethernet data. Max-ON's Microsoft Windows-based configuration utility is integrated with the VersaPro application development environment, which then applies Max-ON to redundant processors. GE Fanuc

Circle 232

Integrated batch process development

Calgary, Alberta, Canada —BDK 2000, said to reduce batch process model development by as much as 80%, provides productivity improvement. Users can customize the product to meet specific needs and incorporate user developed models. Users are able to quickly review chemistry and recipe alternatives during process development and viability analysis. Improved process documentation is achieved through information sharing and technology transfer capabilities. AEA Technology-Hyprotech

Circle 228

Fail Safe Controller

Phoenix, Ariz. —FSC 2oo4D, a Quadruple Modular Redundant (QMR) Fail Safe Controller (FSC) with diagnostics (D) has diagnostics-based QMR technology designed to extend system reliability and improve life-cycle performance. FSC 2oo4D can be applied in high-integrity, process-critical situations to perform wide-ranging process control/safety functions. It has received certification in the U.S. for UL 1998 and ANSI/ISA S84.01 standards. Honeywell Industrial Control

Circle 233

DeltaV gets bigger, adds more features

Austin, Tex. —DeltaV v5 automation system increases the number of supported fieldbus protocols and accommodates up to 30,000 I/O points and 120 network devices from a mix of 100 controllers and 60 workstations. It includes advanced fuzzy logic, loop tuning, loop performance monitoring, and model predictive control. Batch enhancements include campaign manager, electronic signature support, newly patented configuration audit trail, and secondary signature and password verification capabilities. Fisher-Rosemount Systems

Circle 230

Complete toolset for process optimization

Hubertus, Wis.- -ExperTune Process Control Optimization Software includes a complete set of tools for optimizing any industrial PID loop. Optimization steps include: variability and statistical analysis, valve health, control-loop linearization, universal pH linearizer, optimal PV filter, optimal PID tuning, simulation, and process modeling, feedforward, cascade, and multivariable optimization. It works with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, and 2000; modules can be embedded in microcontrollers, and used with Unix-based systems. ExperTune

Circle 229

Predictive software embedded in processors

Foxboro, Mass . —Embedded Connoisseur places Multivariable Predictive Control (MPC) software in fault-tolerant I/A Series Control Processors to build and deliver robust, responsive MPC solutions to fast acting processes such as combustion and surge control. I/A Series embedded Connoisseur supports developing mathematical process models, establishment of constraint limits, and automatic control of the process to maximize economic, quality, and production objectives. Foxboro

Circle 231

Beckhoff offers real-time control

Minneapolis, Minn. —TwinCAT, for "Total Windows Control and Automation Technology," software is a real-time control package for PCs that includes I/O access for 11 fieldbuses and TCP/IP, programming tools, and HMI interfaces. Its software PLC complies with IEC 61131-3. A motion control package provides point-to-point and interpolation control. The real-time extension works under Microsoft Windows 2000, Embedded NT, and NT. It supports OPC server, Visual Basic, and C++. Beckhoff Automation LLC

Circle 224

NDDS distributes control over Ethernet

Sunnyvale, Calif.— NDDS is network middleware that provides real-time publish-subscribe services using industry-standard TCP/IP protocols. Use of Ethernet for real-time control reduces wiring costs for easier integration of manufacturing operations and IT systems. A comprehensive set of Layer 7 services allow the same Ethernet backbone to carry data for high-speed, distributed control and IT system communications. The publish-subscribe model efficiently distributes data in dynamic environments with multiple interacting nodes. NDDS does network addressing and data delivery chores, eliminates thousands of lines of code, and automatically detects when nodes join and leave the network. Real-Time Innovations

Think & Do Studio uses Visio

Ann Arbor, Mich. —Think & Do Studio automation software combines control and information technology with Microsoft Visio 2000, and includes enterprise connectivity and productivity analysis capabilities. Think & Do Studio accelerates automation implementation and provides scalability across Microsoft Windows 2000, NTE, and CE. Pre-configured displays deliver details on capacity utilization, cycle-time variations, and downtime to assist productivity improvement efforts, capacity planning projects, and dynamic scheduling. Entivity Inc.

Circle 227

Linux, Windows link for new networking

Vancouver, B.C., Canada— Building on its deviceCOM for Microsoft Windows CE and NT, Intrinsyc's new deviceCOM for Linux enables customers to use Windows at the enterprise level, while taking advantage of Linux benefits for embedded devices. Using Windows and Linux and bridging the enterprise and device levels, this represents a major step toward the development of multi-operating system solutions. Intrinsyc Software

Circle 225

Device-serial ports use high-speed networking

Irvine, Calif. —Lantronix's Device Server Technology enables nearly any device with a serial port to connect to the Internet and shared networks quickly and cost effectively, eliminating the need for dedicated PCs and local control panels, allowing new networked applications. Device servers replace dedicated PCs or lengthy serial cables with networking technology. Lantronix

Circle 221

FOUNDATION fieldbus High-Speed Ethernet

Austin, Tex.— FOUNDATION fieldbus High-Speed Ethernet (HSE), at 100 Mbit/sec, was released in final specifications (1.0) in March 2000; a testing kit for HSE linking devices—to subsystems of H1 (31.25 kbit/sec) devices—was available December 2000. HSE, Type 5 of the IEC 61158 Fieldbus standard, includes Publisher/Subscriber services. HSE/H1 aim to integrate sensor, process/discrete control, and hybrid/batch control subsystems with supervisory, ERP, and other applications. Fieldbus Foundation

Circle 220

ODVA expands Ethernet interconnection

Boca Raton, Fla. —EtherNet/IP uses commercial, off-the-shelf, Ethernet-physical media and components and an open application layer. EtherNet/IP uses the application layer common to DeviceNet and ControlNet over the TCP/IP protocol operating on standard Ethernet communications chips and hardware, so Ethernet/IP uses the same object models and device profiles as DeviceNet and ControlNet. ODVA

Circle 222

Opto 22 introduces wireless LAN

Temecula, Calif. —SNAP Wireless LAN I/O extends SNAP Ethernet I/O network to areas where it is impossible or too expensive to run network wiring. This compact, flexible processor connects analog, digital, and serial devices with wireless LANs for monitoring, control, and data acquisition. It uses TCP/IP transport protocol; a built-in web server provides diagnostics, configuration, and data serving; and multiple simultaneous protocols include Modbus/ TCP, XML, HTML, SNMP, and SMTP. Opto 22

Circle 223

Subsea-frequency converter module

Turgi, Switzerland —The submersible version of ACS 1000—or subsea frequency converter (Subsea-FC) module—is a stand-alone medium-voltage ac drive with a power rating of 1.5-3.0 MW at 3 kV. Pressure vessel includes a new passive IGCT cooling system, redundant controls, 12-pulse transformer, and power connections. The MV drive can be placed over a mile deep in the sea and relies on ABB's latest power-switching devices and Direct Torque Control. ABB Industri AS/ABB Industrie AG

Circle 215

5th generation design rejuvenates dc drives

Alpharetta, Ga. —New to North America, Simoreg 6RA70 DC Master—a 5th generation dc drive—joins Siemens' MasterDrives family. It has modular design and same microprocessor (MPU) board and firmware for the drive's entire output range, and five operating voltages (400-830 V ac). Typical power rating is 7.5-1,000 hp at 500 V dc; but special designs go up to 8,000 hp. Processing power is six times greater than the previous generation Simoreg drive. Execution time is 83 nsec. Siemens Energy & Automation

Circle 218

Precise servo-pneumatic positioning

Hamel, Minn. —PrecisionAire is said to be the first servo-pneumatic linear motion system to provide accurate and repeatable positioning at multiple programming points, regardless of stroke length. A combined pneumatic/electric control system, stops at programmed points tortical/horizontal orientation. Tol-O-Matic

Circle 219

Software diagnostics peer into motor control center's soul

Milwaukee, Wis. —Consisting of innovative software, hardware, and communications integration, Allen-Bradley IntelliCenter includes dynamically configured screens showing real-time data, trending, component history, wiring diagrams, user manuals, and spare parts. It has plug-and-play setup and diagnostic and preventive failure information. Graphical views of MMC units display data for motor controllers and more Rockwell Automation

Circle 217

Automated fault detection predicts electric motor failures

Istanbul, Turkey —New electric motor failure prediction technology, Artesis' Motor Condition Monitor (MCM) software/hardware product, can automate fault detection without expert databases. Experimental modeling technology assesses the motor, without long training cycles or trend analysis. MCM is highly immune to external influences, especially vibration, and sensitive to mechanical faults, such as bearing faults. It is usually installed on or near motor control panels to provide diagnostic information. Artesis

Circle 216

Vision sensor offers dual-camera measurements

Schaumburg, Ill . —Model F150-3 Vision Sensor has two-camera capability, to perform inspections/measurements simultaneously. The vision sensor's Intelligent Light Source enables users to set light intensity and direction during inspection routines for more accuracy. The modular two-camera option allows for two-angle measurement, for basic to complex applications, such as inspecting assembled parts, identifying missing or improperly placed parts, aligning marks for robotic guidance, chip orientation and placement, and sorting for packaging. PC-based configuration and set-up software are available. Omron Electronics Inc.

Circle 211

Machine vision sees lower cost

Natick, Mass. —Slightly smaller than a standard telephone, In-Sight 2000 is positioned between single-purpose 'smart cameras' and more complex, general-purpose machine-vision systems. It is the first vision system to use a spreadsheet to configure applications, eliminating need for programming or an external PC for setup. A hand-held control pad allows rapid navigation through the worksheet's cells and menus. It enables users to quickly configure an application, and make changes during runtime. Tools include a part finder that locates parts despite changes in orientation, size, or appearance. Cognex Corp.

Circle 209

Proximity sensors extend range, get industry specific

Exton, Pa . —"efector m" sensors, in three families, bring extended-range proximity sensing benefits into new applications, initially machine tools; food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries; and general industrial automation. The sensors have twice the sensing range of same-size conventional devices. The redesigned sensors meet design-test ratings for IP67, IP68, and IP69K and other areas. Color-coded modular-construction includes two-wire circuitry, a set-up LED, and hookup cables for the application. ifm efector

Circle 210

Logix platform enables distributed control

Milwaukee, Wis . —DeviceLogix scalable platform enables control in a variety of devices using a common programming/development tool. The first products are High Current and ArmorBlock MaXum I/O modules, CompactBlock I/O modules, 1799 Embedded I/O modules, 800E DeviceNet pushbutton stations, and DeviceNet starter auxiliary. Distribution of control reduces the load on a central controller. Devices can be programmed to a controlled shutdown. Local control, via cycle counts, can notify for preventive maintenance. Rockwell Automation

Circle 212

Advance-warning system reduces machine failure

Lisle, Ill. —Patented SmartSignal ECM technology improves analysis of existing sensor data, which provides a quantum leap in early detection of abnormal machine behavior. Advanced data interpretation detects faults before failure or damage. The system allows remote monitoring via the Internet and can be embedded in microprocessors. Software monitors equipment sensors and detects subtle deviations from normal operation, for "need-based" maintenance. SmartSignal

Circle 214

Controller delivers real-time control over Ethernet

Palatine, Ill. —Two new models of Modicon Momentum M1E processor adapter integrate an Ethernet port to network data acquisition, peer-to-peer communications, and I/O scanning. Five embedded web pages, usable with a standard web browser, read status and diagnostic information from the processor, extending Schneider's Transparent Factory architecture. It has I/O servicing for up to 4,000 messages per sec, logic solve time of 0.25 msec per KB of user logic, and 512-word I/O capacity. Schneider Electric/Square D

Circle 213

Access automation data on tablet

Albany, N.Y. —Cimplicity TabletView combines a Microsoft Windows CE tablet-style computer with an 8-in. screen, Cimplicity industrial automation software, and wireless Ethernet card for viewing real-time graphical screens from anywhere in the plant, or entering information using a docking station. The product's license can be installed on an existing HMI server supporting a system with more than 75 I/O points. One server supports up to 50 TabletView, PocketView, or WebView users. GE Fanuc

Circle 202

LabView 6i harnesses Internet power

Austin, Tex. —LabView 6i brings Internet-ready capabilities, such as exchanging control applications via the new LabView Player browser plug-in (free from NI); publishing data on the web; and eases data sharing worldwide. It takes fewer steps to build applications than in previous versions. Single-point data acquisition rates are 4.7 times faster. New functions include data acquisition and instrument control, image acquisition and motion control libraries, 3-D user interface, and graphics. National Instruments

Circle 203

SuiteVoyager series of 'thin' intranet/Internet products

Irvine, Calif . —SuiteVoyager supplies a scalable, extensible, and multilingual manufacturing automation information portal enabling secure data from real-time and historical sources. SuiteVoyager, in its initial release, sits atop factory control Ethernet and uses InTouch View, I/O Servers, IndustrialSQL Server, and the AlarmSuite or InTouch alarm database as data providers. SuiteVoyager delivers interactive HTML pages by converting existing InTouch graphic windows and associated animation to XML. Wonderware

Circle 204

ABB introduces object software architecture

Rochester, N.Y. —IndustrialIT ABB Aspect Objects architecture allows all materials and decisions to go through a single infrastructure, incorporating services for the complete life cycle and providing full integration with existing ABB products. This new, scalable series of products makes maximum use of standards, including OPC, COM, Internet and wireless standards, and IEC 61131-3. Plug-and-produce design aims to provide greater profitability. ABB worked over three years to implement IndustrialIT, based on Microsoft Windows 2000. ABB

Circle 234

Automated functions add to design software

Marion, Ind . —Electrical Controls Design Software (ECDS) Version 6.0 increases speed, ease-of-use, and automated functions. It links schematics, panel drawings, bill of materials, and database management. Locator searches multiple drawings for specific attribute values. Change Module Addressing allows change of module after insertion in a drawing. Setup Wizard speeds and simplifies project configuration setup. Module Builder creates new I/O modules or modifies appearance of existing modules. VIA Development Corp.

Circle 239

Major MathWorks upgrade

Natick, Mass. —Release 12 contains major enhancements to system-level solutions for DSP and communications engineers. Release 12 includes updates to flagship products, Matlab 6 and Simulink 4. Improvements include more algorithm functionality to major enhancements in speed. Release 12 advances the design and simulation of complex systems, including frame-based simulation and matrix support. MathWorks

Circle 236

OPC Data Access 2.0

Philadelphia, Pa . —OPC consists of a standard set of interfaces, properties, and methods for use in process control and manufacturing automation to enable communication among control devices, regardless of the controlling software. OPC is based on Microsoft's OLE (now ActiveX), Component Object Model (COM) and Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) technologies. OPC Foundation

Circle 237

More flexibility, performance keys to latest FactoryLink

Richardson, Tex. —Developed to run on Microsoft Windows 2000 and NT operating systems, FactoryLink 7 is designed to help SCADA system users have the lowest possible cost of ownership. FactoryLink 7's increased flexibility, performance, and scalability enable data to be processed, managed, accessed by users, and distributed to key personnel and to higher-level manufacturing execution systems and enterprise resource planning software. Built on Windows DNA (Distributed interNet Applications) architecture standard, it is said to be the first SCADA system to make full use of this technology. USDATA

Circle 238

Intellution introduces next-generation 'Manufacturing Historian'

Foxborough, Mass . —Manufacturing Historian, an open, standards-based platform that allows users to easily plug in software components from Intellution and others, can solve unique business and production challenges. Data historian software applications collect, archive, and distribute information from production processes. Easy implementation, configuration, and web-based application tools enable quick setup. Seamless upward compatibility allows easy migration. Intellution

Circle 235

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