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July News in Brief

01 July, 2009

♦  Member countries of the International Electrotechnical Commission have voted for the FDT specification to become a global standard, IEC 62453. FDT defines an open interface for integrating field devices with automation and asset management systems. It is expected that its acceptance as an IEC standard will accelerate its uptake.

♦  STMicroelectronics has announced the first triacs with 10mA gate sensitivity that can operate up to 150°C without derating. This will allow logic-level switching, cutting component counts and reducing the cost and size of power supplies and heatsinks for applications such as AC controllers for medium-power motors and small appliances. The triacs handle up to 10A.

♦  The ISA is setting up a joint working group to promote awareness of the impact of cyber security issues on the safe operation of industrial automation and control systems. Its initial tasks include completing a Security Assurance Level methodology for cyber security, similar to SIL levels, and developing processes for identifying intentional threats that could expose process hazards.  

♦  ODVA has published new editions of its CIP network specifications, covering Ethernet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet. There are 14 enhancements including a set of rules for components, devices and wiring practices for 24V auxiliary wiring systems for extra-low-voltage circuits, allowing standardised plug-and-play systems to be designed.

♦  General Electric is opening an Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center in the US later this year. The centre, in a new $100m building, will develop next-generation technologies for GE’s high-tech products, and is it expected to employ more than 1,100 people within a few years. The state of Michigan is providing more than $60m in incentives to support the centre over the next 12 years.

♦  RS Components has launched an online resource centre to help engineers to find the latest information on the ATEX and IECEx standards and legislation, and to source compliant products. A downloadable wallchart illustrates the structure of the standards.

♦  Texas-based KLD Energy Technologies has announced a range of transmission-less electric scooters that can reach speeds up to 105km/h and can travel more than 160km on a lithium battery. KLD’s Neue motor technology uses a composite nanocrystalline core said to conduct energy more effectively than iron cores. A high frequency to low rpm ratio eliminates the need for a transmission system. The scooters will go on sale in 2010 at prices starting at $3,288.

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