Thursday, 15 May 2014

Industrial wireless blackout looms

~ GAMBICA calls for harmonisation of EN62657-2 ~

GAMBICA, the trade body for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology industry, has asked for the harmonisation of the new EN62657-2 industrial wireless co-existence standard, which otherwise could lead to a major industrial wireless failure. 

With the intention of preserving bandwidth, the telecommunications industry has written a harmonised standard that does not allow industrial wireless control systems to function. The European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) is now blocking the harmonisation of a European standard, which facilitates co-existence management of Industrial communication networks under the R&TTE directive. This restriction is likely to make Europe lose significant competitive ground in the industrial wireless field.

ETSI, are officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organisation and have written the harmonised standard: EN 300 328 V1.8.1, a standard that amends the existing rules for all devices using the publicly available radio band. The band includes millions of devices using WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee technologies. This means it will have a major impact on manufacturers from all sectors once it comes into force, on January 1, 2015.

It is a harmonized EN standard covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of the R&TTE Directive, which states that “in addition, radio equipment shall be so constructed that it effectively uses the spectrum allocated to terrestrial/space radio communication and orbital resources so as to avoid harmful interference.”

 “With the intention of effectively using the spectrum, the telecommunications industry has produced a harmonised standard, which does not allow industrial wireless control systems to function,” explains Andrew Evans, technical executive at GAMBICA. “The problem with the standard is that it introduces the concept of Listen Before Talk (LBT). LBT requires each radio device to first check whether another device is transmitting, in which case it must hold back until the channel is free. This causes random and unpredictable communication delays.

“The entire idea is simply nonviable,” continues Evans. “At times of heavy use, the result is 'graceful degradation of service'. Unfortunately, the real problem for an industrial site is that key wireless devices can never be relied upon to report their alarm or status messages in a timely fashion.”

Industry has tried to work with ETSI by submitting comments on the revision of EN300328 V1.8.1 including suggestions for exemption or optional use of LBT within defined industrial automation areas. These solutions have not been included in the new revision of the standard. V1.8.1.

Industry has also worked hard via technical committee SC65C to develop an IEC standard: 62657-2 (2013) “Industrial Communication Networks - Wireless Communication Networks - Pt 2: Coexistence Management”. This has been voted positively by CENELEC to become EN62657-2, but the harmonisation of this standard under the R&TTE directive has been blocked by ETSI.

GAMBICA is urging all member companies providing industrial wireless equipment, or whose services rely on these systems, to contact their UK trade association or other organisations on the continent. The industry needs to make further efforts to explain the possible consequences of LBT to the European Commission and call for the harmonisation of EN62657-2 under the R&TTE directive as soon as possible.

Wireless process control technology is in its infancy still, but widely seen across the process industry as a huge growth area. One only needs to glance at trade publications to see the plethora of wireless marketing material. It is a significant growth area which provides major cost savings in wiring and installation time. Many sites in the UK have wireless systems installed and more are in the pipeline.  At a stroke, these investments are put at risk and the future growth of UK based industry will be gravely harmed.

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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Process sector gets together to grow the market

GAMBICA, the UK trade association for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology, will host the eleventh edition of the Measurement and Control Information Exchange System (MACIES) event, at the Siemens headquarters in Manchester on March 21, 2014. The informal gathering will review market data, estimate the UK market size for around 40 different product categories and make predictions for the next financial year. 

Companies interested in attending the event can find out more or confirm their presence by contacting Sarah Wicks on 0207 642 8080 or by e-mail at Tickets to the event are £60 for GAMBICA members and MACIES is still open to non-GAMBICA members for £120.

It represents an excellent opportunity for process industry manufacturers and distributors to objectively analyse and discuss valuable data and look at strategic initiatives to encourage the growth of the processing sector.

Previous discussions at the MACIES gathering have included instrumentation and control products, primarily for the process industries, which includes pressure and level instruments, flowmeters, recorders, analytical instruments, smart positioners, field devices, control systems and infrared temperature measurement. This year also sees the formation of a new collection for gas chromatographs.

“The MACIES event has become a tradition for process companies. It's an excellent opportunity for well-established businesses to meet fellow industry leaders and for smaller, newer companies to become a part of the community,” enthused Andrew Evans, technical executive at GAMBICA.

“It also gives us a chance to better coordinate our efforts for the next financial year, based on very accurate and insightful industry data. This will help the industry continue to grow in a sustainable, responsible manner.”

“Industry data at the MACIES events has always been invaluable to our company,” explained David Newell, UK managing director of Endress & Hauser. “It is the only reliable source of market data for UK process instrumentation and control equipment. Equivalents are rarely found in other European countries, so we’re very lucky to be part of it.”

GAMBICA operates a range of statistics collection services on behalf of industry and exercises strict confidentiality rules to protect individual company data as well as the availability of the collated data. The information is collected off-site and not shared with any uninvolved GAMBICA employees.

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Monday, 17 February 2014

Energy efficiency experts at Drives and Controls 2014

Drives and controls 2014
GAMBICA, the UK trade association for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology, will host a pavilion at the Drives & Controls Exhibition, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham, between April 8 and April 10, 2014. The seven participating GAMBICA members can be found at stands number G10 to G70.

Steve Brambley, GAMBICA’s deputy director and the organisation’s Variable Speed Drives (VSD) group convener, will also present two seminars at the event. The first one will be a part of the Motor Driven Systems (MDS) day and will take place on April 9, between 11:30 and 12:00. The seminar will address ways in which intelligent control can significantly reduce energy usage.

The second session is a panel discussion that will take place on April 10, from 10:15 to 11:15 and will look at the automation trends in the UK.

The GAMBICA members pavilion will play host to seven members, each with their own stand. The participants are Danfoss, Fairford Electronics, Omron Electronics, Pepperl + Fuchs GB, TECO, Vacon Drives UK and Parker SSD Drives.

“We’re particularly looking forward to this year’s event as an opportunity to exhibit as a trade body and in partnership with some of our members,” explains Brambley. “We’ve worked with all our members to create a varied exhibit, that reflects the GAMBICA membership and we look forward to meeting as many visitors and fellow exhibitors as possible. We’re certain that the recent confidence boost in the automation and manufacturing sectors will reflect positively on this year’s Drives & Controls show.”

For the 2014 Drives & Controls show, the participating GAMBICA members will focus on issues including energy efficiency, the benefits of motor control in fixed and variable speed applications and the advantages of using automation and robotics.

An Omron Delta-style robot will be exhibited on stand G70, in a typical material handling application. Every aspect of the machine cell will be controlled by a Sysmac machine automation controller.

GAMBICA member Fairford Electronics has also prepared a particularly interesting exhibit. "Fairford are delighted to be part of the GAMBICA pavilion this year. It gives us a chance to showcase our revolutionary intelligent energy saving motor controller - Synergy. We will have a live unit with us and visitors will be able to test it and see just how compact, powerful and easy to use it is," commented Stephen Royle, sales and marketing director at Fairford Electronics.

On stand G20, Danfoss will discuss their VLT® High Power Drives and low harmonic versions of the VLT® Automation, HVAC and AQUA drives. The products actively reduce harmonic distortion in the power supply, improving power quality by continuously regulating the network to the load conditions. The VLT® Advanced Active Filter is designed to complement the VLT® series of low harmonic drives, a flexible and adaptable solution for stand-alone or group harmonic mitigation.

Teco will be launching the latest additions to the 510 family of VSD’s, namely the IP66 version of the E510 sensorless vector drive and the IP55 variant of the F510 which is designed for fan and pump control.

On stand G60, Vacon will showcase VACON 100 FLOW drives, which incorporate an extensive range of dedicated features and menus optimised for pump and fan applications, and VACON 100 X drives, which have an IP66 ingress protection rating that allows them to be used almost anywhere – even outdoors – without the need for extra protection.
Brian Hurley, general manager of Parker's SSD Drives Division announced "We're delighted to be back at Drives & Controls. This show will be the UK debut for the new AC10 drive, as well as the newly extended AC30 Series. The UK is an important market for us and this exhibition presents us with a good opportunity to show our customers how our product range has developed."
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Manufacturing survey calls for support scheme awareness

GAMBICA has released the results of its recent Manufacturing Support Scheme Survey, highlighting the need to increase communications about the support schemes available. 

GAMBICA ran the survey with support from organisations such as IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology), EEF (The Manufacturers' Organisation), IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and Intellect.

The survey was conducted to gather accurate data and assess the level of awareness and uptake of 18 key manufacturing support services provided by Government. The 446 participants revealed an average index of 34% awareness of the schemes, whilst 16% of respondents were already using or considering using them.

The most popular schemes amongst those surveyed, with 70% and 69% awareness respectively, were the Apprenticeship Service and the R&D Tax Credits. The schemes that manufacturers are least aware of are the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot and TRS (Talent Retention Solution).

In terms of take up, 28% of those surveyed were already using the Apprenticeship Service for their company. Interestingly, the scheme to which most companies were signed up was the R&D Tax Credits, with almost a third of respondents confirming that they are involved in the scheme.

"Our aim was to create a survey that would be simple enough to complete but gather good evidence of awareness levels," explained Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA. "The results indicate a wide spread of awareness levels of the different schemes, suggesting the need for specific targeted communication actions. The really positive outcome of the survey is that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is keen to work with GAMBICA and the other survey stakeholders in order to raise awareness and promote these essential support schemes," he concluded.

A forum chaired by BIS  will kick off in November to prioritise actions based on the results of the survey.

"GAMBICA and survey stakeholders like IET, EEF, IMechE and Intellect are invited to take part in the discussions," added Steve Brambley. "We are looking forward to putting our minds together and finding the best ways to communicate the benefits of different schemes to UK plc," he said.

More information about the survey and the schemes available can be found on the GAMBICA website

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Monday, 22 July 2013

Lifetime cost is more important than purchase cost

GAMBICA, the association for instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology, is set to present two seminars, on energy efficiency and electric motors respectively, at The Machine Building Show in Hall 3 of the NEC, Birmingham between September 25 and 26, 2013.  

Organised by trade show expert Trident Exhibitions, and backed by a wide range of industrial media organisations, this new event is co-located with a number of other industry leading trade exhibitions. GAMBICA is one of the supporting partners.

The first seminar has the title ‘Energy Efficiency – Investing in the machine to reduce the running cost’ and will address the benefit of investing in energy efficient systems to reduce energy costs.

It will focus on the difference between purchase price and lifetime cost for motor driven systems and show that the energy consumed costs significantly more than the capital purchase. The session will also discuss why this is an important factor for the end-user and how machine builders can provide this service, using their own expertise to add value.

“If you justify an investment purely on purchase cost, the “cheaper” option could turn out to be more expensive and the most energy efficient machine would be the most cost effective over its lifetime,” explains Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA and the speaker at both sessions.

“When buying a car like a BMW saloon, the purchase cost is more significant than the cost of fuel, whereas with an electric motor, the energy cost is far more significant than the purchase price. Nevertheless, car buyers do pay attention to fuel and economy.”

The second seminar has the title ‘Electric Motors – how control and automation is the key to energy saving’, building on the financial focus of the previous seminar.

This session will look in more detail at electric motors and the options for control and automation. It will demonstrate how the major gain in efficiency is at the system level rather than component level by looking at both theory and case studies.

It will explore the different forms of motor control, examining the advantages and typical uses of each. Finally, it will look at how best to make a decision on the appropriate form of control for the application, using tools to assist in the process.

“GAMBICA, and particularly its variable speed drives group, is constantly looking for ways to collaborate with communities that use automation technology. The Machine Building Show is a fantastic opportunity to meet with stakeholders who design, build and operate machines and understand their needs.

“The many benefits of automation can be discussed and new ways to bring value can be raised. As a speaker at the event, my goal is that participants will go away having learned something new that will be useful in their work,” concluded Brambley.

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

GAMBICA joins drive to boost UK electronics by 55%

Graeme Philp in talks with
UK Government
GAMBICA has today joined UK Government and a number of leading trade bodies and associations in a drive to create a 55 percent boost to the UK electronic systems sector. The objective is to build a £120 billion industry within seven years. GAMBICA is the UK trade association for Automation, Instrumentation, Control and Laboratory Technology.

This will create an additional 150,000 skilled jobs across the UK if the plan is realised. Based on the Electronic Systems Challenges and Opportunities (ESCO) committee report, the strategy document reveals how the sector can grow to contribute 7.1 percent of GDP by 2020, placing it among the top five UK industries. Electronics would then support over one million skilled jobs, making it a top five UK employer.

Michael Fallon is co-chairing the electronics systems forum within ESCO and GAMBICA has led the manufacturing work stream for the report and successfully recruited Juergen Maier, managing director of Siemens UK and Ireland industry sector, into the group.

The Report was created for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills with Michael Fallon MP, minister of state for Business and Enterprise and minister of state for Energy, at the launch.

“Industrial electronics, notably instrumentation and automation, has a key part to play in the expansion of the UK’s high value manufacturing base,” explained Graeme Philp, CEO of GAMBICA.

“It generates wealth not only in automation and manufacturing but also in other sectors. The report makes several key recommendations, including measures to improve supply chains and strategic procurement, the skills pipeline and the formation of a think tank to identify future growth sectors.

“According to the Office of National Statistics, over 5,300 companies in the UK classify themselves as electronics systems manufacturers by their standard industrial classification (SIC) codes. Those companies together employ more than 220,000 people in the UK.

“The survey that we undertook as part of the ESCO report found that around a quarter of the companies that off-shored their manufacturing during the last 20 years have re-shored it. The prime reason given for this is the hidden costs associated with off-shoring such as quality control issues. These are much more difficult to manage at a distance.”

The UK is already renowned as a leading innovator in the electronic systems sector, and 14 of the world’s top 20 semiconductor companies have established design and/or manufacturing operations in the UK. However, compared to South Korea, which has a similar size, GDP and population, the UK has previously failed to create strong international electronics brands.

The report calls for a long-term strategic approach between Government and industry to ensure that the right ecosystem is in place to encourage the investment and entrepreneurship. It is believed that this will trigger the rise of these high-growth enterprises.

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

GAMBICA forms industrial network security group

Is your password crackable?
GAMBICA has formed an industrial network security group to identify standards and best practice for members and their customers to help counter the threats of viruses, industrial sabotage and terrorism. 

The new group already has 19 members and came about as a result of feedback from other group members suggesting that this is an area of increasing interest to the automation industry.

“I put out a proposal to GAMBICA’s membership and within hours got messages back from about 15 member companies saying they were definitely interested in participating in such a group,” reveals Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA.

“We had an exploratory meeting where it was determined that the industry is interested in spreading best practice among both vendors and their customer base.

“Defence-in-depth is what is needed; because there is no single solution to industrial network security – it is systematic. Industrial network system security is just part of the wider topic of security and needs to be integrated, not treated separately. There is no point in having an uncrackable password protection system if people write them on sticky notes and put them on their screens.”

Brambley points out that industrial networks are rarely managed in the same way as enterprise networks, and fall under different areas of responsibility in a business. Office applications are typically managed by an IT department using its approved security software, standards and codes of practice, while the industrial side tends to be looked after by an engineering department without necessarily involving the IT team.

For example, it is not uncommon for a PC controlling a manufacturing cell to be running a very old version of Windows, such as NT or XP without an internet connection.

“At some point later in its life, the engineering department may decide it wants to connect some manufacturing cells to get production information out onto the IT network,” add Brambley. “This can introduce vulnerability if the cells are managed by a PC with an old version of Windows that has not been updated.

“Industrial network systems need to be dealt with differently from IT networks in a business.

“Communications need to be continuous and without glitch for monitoring a fast process, whether the controlled process is food, oil, metalworking, paper or anything else.

“This is different to an enterprise IT environment, where it does not matter if a PC takes a few seconds to update and the user can’t access a Word document during that time!”

Brambley concludes that security measures need to recognise the needs of the system and that the automation industry has a part to play as the experts in integrating their own systems into a wider security policy. They need a voice and a presence to tackle these issues and GAMBICA’s new group provides this.

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Monday, 15 April 2013

GAMBICA tops British Standards table for contributing members

A recent report from BSI, the business standards company, has revealed that GAMBICA has more members contributing to BSI committees than any other trade association. The report, entitled Structuring Knowledge: Standards Development Briefing states that GAMBICA has representation on 100 technical committees and sub committees.   

The report was published by BSI to demonstrate that standards are a crucial part of the way that business delivers value to the economy and to society.

BSI committee members are leading experts who help to create published standards. They come from industry, trade associations, government organisations, professional associations, research institutions, academia, consumer and public interest bodies.

Furthermore, the report does not only demonstrate influence over standards in the United Kingdom. In order to influence standards at a European (CEN / CENELEC) and international level (IEC / ISO), work has to be conducted at a national standards working group level through the BSI.

This has been highlighted over the last twelve months by changes in the regulatory landscape in Europe, most notably with the release of the new standardisation regulation, EU No 1025/2012, in October 2012, as well as moves in numerous countries to clarify the referencing of standards in regulation.

“This shows how well GAMBICA is ensuring that it lives up to one of its core principles, namely that our members will be provided with the best possible representation when standards which can dramatically affect their business prospects are being developed both in the UK and Europe,” argued Ron Neiger, president of GAMBICA. “This analysis shows that there is no association which does more for its members’ interests in the standards arena.”

“Advances in standardisation are only possible through the collaborative effort of our valued network of standards experts and stakeholders,” said Shirley Bailey-Wood MBE, director of publishing at BSI. “It is this work that enables us to identify and shape standards that respond to the pressing industrial and societal issues of the day, while delivering real benefits to business, industry and the general public.  Participation in a committee ensures that member’s requirements, understanding of the market and voice is heard and captured into the development of a standard, and we are actively seeking experts to get involved.”

Top 10 trade associations on BSI committees and sub committees as published by the BSI are:

1, GAMBICA Association - 100
2, UK Steel Association - 80
3, British Cables Association - 70
4, British Plastics Federation - 68
5, Safety Assessment Federation - 54
6, Energy Networks Association - 54
7, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - 53
8, Intellect - 48
9, Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances - 46
10, Engineering Equipment and Materials Users' Association – 41

The report can be downloaded in full here.

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Friday, 26 October 2012

GAMBICA publishes updated installation guide for power drive systems

Installation guide for
Power Drive Systems
GAMBICA and REMA have updated their joint publication titled ‘Installation Guidelines for Power Drive Systems’, which is available for free as a download from the GAMBICA website. The publication is an authoritative guide on best practice for the installation of Power Drive Systems.
Acceptable operation of a drive system is dependent on a satisfactory installation. Compliance with the appropriate EU Directives and with local regulations is also a legal requirement.

Each section in the report covers the requirements for a different part of a power drive system, to assist specifiers and purchasers from specification to installation and commissioning.

The new document is the result of a study carried out by GAMBICA and REMA, taking note of well-established fundamental theory and technical papers and also incorporating the results of specific investigations carried out as part of the process. It principally considers the aspects of safe mechanical and electrical installation and the avoidance of EMC problems.

“This is the 4th Edition of the Technical Guide, with updates on power drive systems including the drive, motor and load, together with cabling, site considerations, circuit protection, earthing and harmonics,” said Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA and convener of the organisation’s variable speed drive (VSD) group.

“Power Drive Systems is an IEC term which covers the VSD, motor and sensors used for feedback control information to the drive, as well as auxiliary parts like filtering and protection. The technical guide has now evolved into a comprehensive treatise for engineers and installers, giving them a VSD manufacturer’s perspective on best practice for installation.

“Since the 3rd Edition in December 2006, it has been updated with reference to current legislation, regulations and standards, and with new sections on earth loop impedance testing, bearings and power conditioning, as well as an updated section on transformers.”

REMA represents the sector of the electrical industry concerned with the manufacture of electric motors and generators, without limitation of output or voltage, excluding turbine/traction machines and those used in aircraft. Further publications are available from the GAMBICA publications page.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

GAMBICA whitepaper set to highlight the importance of system efficiency, not product efficiency

GAMBICA will be launching a white paper at the 2012 Motor Driven Systems conference in which it will make an economics based analysis of the comparison between investing money in efficient systems to reap financial gain and saving capital by not investing but accepting higher energy bills.

Steve Brambley, Deputy Director
The paper, presented by GAMBICA deputy director Steve Brambley, will show how the lifetime cost of efficient equipment is lower due to the high proportion of energy costs in motor driven systems. Brambley will explain that 97% of the lifetime costs of a motor come from the energy it consumes and that energy efficient systems can deliver significant, often double digit, savings. He will also compare two example lifetime costs, the first with investment in motor control, the second without it.

“Running old or inefficient equipment is a false economy,” explains Brambley. “The real barrier to investment is the understanding of the lifetime cost of a system at a corporate and financial level. In contrast, I think engineers readily accept the benefits of motor control.”

The Motor Driven Systems conference will take place on November 8 at St. John’s Hotel, Solihull. The event, which is supported by companies from the pump, compressed air, motors, drives, controls and fan industries, aims to bring together the varied strands of legislation, standardisation, system strategies and technological developments affecting motor driven systems.

In the context of the economic downturn and subsequent cuts, manufacturers are reluctant to invest in improving their systems. However, as time passes, inefficient industrial machines consume more and more expensive energy and begin eating away at profits. One solution to this problem is the installation of a variable speed drive (VSD) or alternative fixed speed form of motor control, as GAMBICA’s white paper illustrates.

“The American industrialist Henry Ford once said that, If you need a machine and don't buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it, but don't have it,” says Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA.  “I believe that a century later, his assertion is more pertinent than ever for UK manufacturing. As our findings point out, VSDs can reduce the energy cost of most fixed speed motor driven systems by more than their own capital cost in a relatively short period - often less than a year. As energy prices continue to soar, the return on investment on a VSD application increases in proportion to the bill,” he concluded.

The price for delegates to attend the Motor Driven Systems event is £235 plus VAT. For more information, bookings and a conference programme, visit the Motor Driven Systems website.

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