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11 months ago

May/June Edition 14.3

  • Text
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IIOT FUELS THE SPIRIT OF

IIOT FUELS THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION Never has Endress+Hauser filed as many patents as it did last year Endress+Hauser honoured the company’s inventors at the annual Innovators’ Meeting in Merzhausen, Germany. More than 300 employees involved in patent applications over the last year attended this event. The number of patent applications by the Endress+Hauser Group continues to grow. The globally-active company submitted a record 273 patents in 2016. Around threefourths involve level, flow and analysis measurement technology, followed by digital communication and instrument diagnosis. The number of invention disclosures also reached an all-time high of 382. “We can be proud of our creative employees. The results point to our innovative strength,” says CEO Matthias Altendorf. The measurement and automation technology provider traditionally places a high value on research and development. This includes recognising the company’s inventors at the annual Endress+Hauser Innovators’ Meeting, which is dedicated to honouring new ideas and excellent patents. This year, more than 300 inventors gathered together on 31 March in Merzhausen, Germany, to socialise and share their knowledge. Industrial Internet of Things is gaining ground Endress+Hauser currently holds more than 7,000 active property rights. Every invention disclosure is subject to an internal, multistep evaluation process before the patent is submitted, which takes typically four months. While the worldwide patent approval rate averages roughly around 50 percent, Endress+Hauser boasts a 63 percent rate in Europe, 70 percent in the US and as high as 86 percent in China. The number of approved patents by Endress+Hauser rose 10 percent in all three of these global markets in 2016. These increases doesn’t just happen on its own, roughly about seven percent of Endress+Hauser’s net sales flows out of research and development. A key focus for Endress+Hauser is on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). “Innovative products that offer our customers genuine added value, represent our best sales argument,” explains Dr Andreas Mayr, Corporate Director Marketing & Technology. Endress+Hauser already offers instruments that monitor their own status during processes, while making the sensor and process data available via Internet-based platforms. The seamless integration of instruments into the customer’s automation and IT systems permits on-going optimisation of maintenance cycles and process controls, among other things. Overseas focus Endress+Hauser has run its own patent department in the US since 2016 to protect analysis technology developed by the SpectraSensors (Houston, Texas) and Kaiser Optical Systems (Ann Arbor, Michigan) subsidiaries, as well as Endress+Hauser Conducta (Anaheim, California), from imitators. “One of our most important markets is in the US, where we have 850 employees,” says Angelika Andres, Head of the Endress+Hauser patent department. “The 50 patents we filed in the first year proved that the transatlantic move was the right decision.” Endress+Hauser honoured the company’s inventors at the annual Innovators’ Meeting in Merzhausen, Germany. More than 300 employees involved in patent applications over the last year attended this event. Endress+Hauser (Pty) Ltd For further information: Su-Anne Willemse Tel: (011) 262 8080 E-mail: suanne.willemse@za.endress.com Web: www.za.endress.com 4

FRONT COVER STORY HIGHER TRANSMISSION FREQUENCY MEANS IT’S TIME TO RECONSIDER RADAR FOR LEVEL MEASUREMENT OF POWDERS by Gregory Tischler, Product Manager, VEGA Americas For years, radar sensors have had a bad reputation for powder level measurement. Frankly, radar earned that bad rap. While the technology has always worked brilliantly with coal, grains, and plastic pellets, it was never compatible with powders for a variety of reasons including size and chemical composition. Users who tried to make radar sensors work because they are lowmaintenance, long-lasting, and durable in difficult conditions ended up disappointed. If radar technology were a restaurant, powders users would drive by its parking lot without a second look. But now is the time for users to give radar another try. Modern sensors with 80 GHz transmission frequency have put radar technology back on the menu as it concerns measuring the level of powders. This paper will examine how increasing the frequency makes radar viable in powders applications, and discuss advantages radar has always had over other level technologies. Particle size is no longer a problem Radar sensors were always a good fit for measuring the level of plastic pellets, but there was a time in the not-too-distant past when radar level measurement was a nonstarter for fine powders. 80 GHz radar sensors emit higher-energy, 3.5- 4.0 mm microwaves that can detect particles smaller than one millimeter in diameter. The rake’s teeth are closer together, so contacting a lone fertilizer pellet is easier than ever. High-frequency radar sensors with large dynamic range (more on that to come) are now a proven level solution in plastic powder applications. As radar sensor transmission frequency has increased, wavelength has decreased, allowing for more accurate measurement of small particles. Any dielectric will do While available for years, large dynamic range came at a prohibitive cost. It made no financial sense for instrumentation manufacturers to double the cost of sensors to narrowly expand the application scope for users. That expanded scope is now easy to achieve at a reasonable price. The most sensitive radar sensors on the market have a dynamic range of 120 dB, five times greater than that of its 26 GHz predecessors. These sensors can measure virtually any product, no matter how low the dielectric constant. This is quite a paradigm shift; as dK value used to be the most important question when determine whether or not a radar sensor will work. Now, the dielectric value of a powder doesn’t determine if radar will work, but rather which radar will work. Non-contact instruments have longer service life Non-contact instruments, including radar and ultrasonic sensors, maximize user investment. They may be more expensive on the front end, but the initial cost is negated by reduced (and in most cases, eliminated) maintenance costs and a longer service life. With the ability to set and forget the level measurement, plant operators can allocate more resources to improving overall process efficiency. When buildup encroaches upon a radar antenna, its presence is neutralized in modern sensors that include software that filters out close-range signals. For longer sensor life and accuracy through buildup, there is no better investment than a noncontact level sensor. 5

Collection

December 2016 Edition 13.6
Sept / Oct 2016 Edition 13.5
July / August 2016 Edition 13.4
May / June 2016 Edition 13.3
March / April 2016 Edition13.2
Jan / Feb 2016 Edition 13.1
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