Category Archives: Humidity

INDUSTRY 4.0 MONITORING FOR AUTOMOTIVE TESTING

casestudy

In 2018 the UK automotive sector was valued at £82 billion and employed 823,000 people.

As the trends towards automated, low carbon and electrical vehicles increase the requirements of modern testing and certification are critical. In this customer application we explore how one of the UK’s largest automotive test companies is meeting these new challenges helped by the adoption of the cutting edge Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS).

Automotive Test and Validation

In 2017 the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) was introduced.  This lab test required the assessment of fuel consumption as well as CO2 and pollutant emissions from cars during
• Test cycles based on real-driving data
• Test cycles based on a variety of driving phases
• Test cycles using both heaviest and lightest power-train configurations

Facilities that provide these tests and have access to suitable test tracks are increasingly in high demand. Prior to testing cars must be preconditioned at specific environmental
conditions and during lab testing these conditions are replicated.

WLTP

The Application

In order to meet ongoing quality demands and compliance to the latest Vehicle Emissions Regulations (WLTP), our client required a solution to improve and enhance their monitoring capability in several key test areas. Latest standards required more frequent ambient measurements as well as five-minute rolling averages. Engine testing is undertaken in multiple soaking areas operating at different temperatures, ranging from -20 °C to +50 °C, requiring numerous temperature and humidity sensors monitoring different parts and areas of the test vehicles.

The Challenge
It is no longer practical to use a range of different monitoring platforms for every specific application. For the automotive industry the growth of the latest 5G and electric car technology provides new validation and testing challenges, a monitoring platform must be able to adapt to meet these new requirements easily. For our client the system had to be centrally managed with all data accessible from anywhere on site. Reporting, alarming and a clear audit trail were vital. Already having experience with a range of hardware and software it was clear that the system had to utilise standard IT infrastructure and software platforms.

car
Rolling road for vehicle testing

Hardware Integration and Standardisation

Investing in a monitoring system traditionally locked customers in to one supplier. Where possible, RMS has been designed to support Industry 4.0 open integration and interoperability. As such, RMS software is built as a standard web service. All data sits on a standard SQL database. Industrial device interoperability is never easy, RMS provides
options via simple APIs for many applications and analogue input modules for existing analogue hardware. When a robust and secure integration solution for digital hardware is required it can be professionally integrated using our RMS-Convertor module.

The result is that end users can add supported 3rd party devices with a few clicks. These devices benefit from secure data backup and auto-recovery of data in the event of any system downtime, as well as all the normal charting, reporting and alarming features RMS offers.

Project Overview

Our client engineers favoured Red Lion E3 modules, a proven industrial I/O device from Red Lion Controls. The E3 range includes 16 channel thermocouple devices, ideal for automotive testing. Integration was achieved in partnership with Rotronic R&D. Using a trial Red Lion E3 device Rotronic was able to fully integrate the unit. Final testing was undertaken by the client to confirm that the devices performed as required.

A key feature was that the Red Lion E3 modules have the ability to daisy chain Ethernet devices. Therefore, using a single port the 16x channel Red Lion module was networked along with a high accuracy humidity and temperature RMS LAN logger to every engine test cell providing a robust, elegant solution for this industrial application.

Millbrook

Product Focus – Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS)

High accuracy and high frequency multi parameter monitoring including temperature, humidity, pressure and dew point.
• On premise or cloud software solution
• Support for wired and wireless data loggers
• No local end user software required just a web-browser
• Full historic record and summary reporting
• High accuracy and high frequency ambient temperature and humidity monitoring
• Ability to calculate and record 5 minute rolling averages with alarms
• Extensive support for 3rd party devices and data streams

Read the case study from Red Lion on this project here; https://www.redlion.net/resources/millbrook-technology-park-case-study 

Contact us to discuss your monitoring requirements be they GxP, Industrial or Commercial.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic

Simple connectivity with the Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS)

Introduction:

Reducing costs and improving quality are key drivers for any business. RMS applications typically target these aspects of our customers operations and a recent project with here in the UK was no exception.

Following an initial enquiry it was clear that a custom selection of RMS hardware and setup would be required, however this was no reason not to proceed with a bespoke solution.

Customer Process:

The project was based around a wider roll out of a new technology in the manufacturing process of our customer. The process required the use of special epoxy adhesives that themselves require very strict ambient and surface temperature conditions. Outside these conditions the bonding process would not be adequate. As such monitoring was critical to ensure and prove conditions were being met during production.

Some Chemistry:

Epoxy resins a reactive pre-polymers, they have the potential to react and cross link. It is this cross linking that when triggered turns a stable liquid into a thermo-setting polymer. The set polymer typically has extremely high thermal and chemical resistance. Epoxy resins are commonly used as adhesives and coatings in many industries such as carbon fibre and ship building.

What are the monitoring requirements

Ambient conditions and surface temperatures are critical for the client procedure.  The production area was therefore independently controlled by a specific HVAC system. Previous manual checks lacked quantitative detail and were costly to implement

The Solution – RMS Continuous Monitoring

RMS provided the perfect solution. Using an RMS-LOG-868 high accuracy humidity and temperature loggers combined with an economical RMS-MLOG mini-loggers all measurements could be made in real time. A custom magnetic surface temperature probe was utilised so the customer could accurately measure the surface temperature as per their quality requirements. Live ambient dew point was calculated via RMS and then this value was compared with surface temperature using a simple arithmetic calculation. Thus a live trace of surface temperature vs dew point temperature was provided giving a clear indication whether there would be a risk of surface condensation. Parameters were configured with warning and alarm limits linked to emails, SMS and telephone alerts as well as clear visual displays via tablets and PCs.

As such the customer could be confident that should conditions not be favourable they would know, in addition for QA a full record of all conditions was easily available with automated reporting and full audit trail.

API Example5
Live data direct to your PC, Tablet or Mobile device.

Simplifying Connectivity

Cconnectivity was an issue on such a large site. No network access was available at all. A 4G solution resolved these and provided data direct connectivity at all times through out the site.

Fully mobile kit was created requiring only a mains power supply for operation. Wireless loggers could then be moved and placed as required always in range of the 4G communications kit.

Even if connectivity or power was lost for any reason, all the wireless loggers would continue logging on their 3 year batteries and maintain a 1 month record that automatically synchronised back to the RMS software once 4G connection was restored.

The entire system was setup and configured exactly as required from the Rotronic office, including device pairing and software configuration allowing the client to log on from their offices and make comments and changes. A subsequent visit to site met with no technical issues or surprises. This also kept service costs to a minimum for an initial proof of concept project.

RMS - Info Graphic - 4G

4G connectivity reducing need for on-site infrastructure and IT issues.

This is just one example of an RMS implementation. With a range of cloud and on premises software along with wireless and wired devices if you have a monitoring application we are confident we can find a solution to meet your needs and budget.

To find out more about our range of monitoring solutions and instruments contact us or visit http://www.rotronic.com/rms

 

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic

 

Better Air Quality means Better Performance

We have all had that situation when we have attended meetings, where an individuals performance has lacked. In most of these cases, this is a direct result of the poor quality of the air in the room.

Uncomfortable situations like this need not arise. CO2 displays by Rotronic make it easy to measure air quality, and the results can be used to initiate the appropriate measures. In an enclosed room, some 25 to 35 cubic metres of fresh air per person per hour are needed, given normal activities. This is a real challenge for building management systems as ventilation is costly due to the energy required but room use varies hugely throughout the day. CO2 is the best measure of use building up relative to the number of occupants, activity level and level of natural ventilation.

This ensures that the carbon dioxide (CO2 ) content remains below 1,000ppm (ppm = parts per million [value of the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air]), and that the volatile substances exuded by humans are extracted to a sufficient degree. By comparison, the CO2 concentration in outdoor air is around 400ppm. The CO2 concentration is a good indication of the quality of the air in a room.

Careful planning of ventilation systems

powered-exhaust-illustration
Today, however, an adequate supply of fresh air cannot be taken for granted. In densely built-up housing areas, normal ventilation through the windows is of limited value. A good room climate cannot be achieved by regular airing in all buildings – climate regulating systems are a necessity.

Building owners and ventilation planners should therefore conform to the specifications in the SWKI Directives –“Hygiene requirements for room air systems and devices” – starting with the positioning of the air intake, through the controls of the ventilation and heating systems to the instruction of the occupiers. In the case of more complex systems, the responsibilities for surveillance and maintenance must also be clearly defined. . To keep the ventilation systems functioning reliably, and to
keep them hygienic, they must be carefully planned, constructed, regulated and maintained. Rotronic CO2 displays or CO2 transmitters can then be used to monitor and control these ventilation systems, using our  Rotronic Monitoring System live data is available at all times and alerts can be triggered if conditions are not suitable.

RMS chart.png

CO2 Display
The wall-mounted or bench-top CO2 display is an inexpensive display unit that simultaneously measures and records CO2 , humidity and temperature. Equipped with the field-tested and proven ROTRONIC HYGROMER® IN-1 humidity sensor, this instrument offers unbeatable value for money, ideal for existing buildings where control systems cannot easy by modified, such as schools, offices, catering areas multi-use spaces. The instrument can be configured directly with buttons, and stored data can be exported to a USB stick for analysis with the free Rotronic software package SW21.

Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions on the above or have any measurement requirements.

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1pst

Water Activity – A critical measurement for sensitive seeds

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Water activity measurement plays an integral role at the Tree Seed Centre in British Columbia.

download (2)

The Tree Seed Working Group has four objectives related to promoting tree seed science and technology through:
• Seed research from bud initiation to seed use
• Identification of seed problems relating to seed improvement and forest management
• Exchange of information on seed related problems
• Consulting on implementation practices

Water activity continues to be an area of interest to the Tree Seed Working Group, especially with their genetic conservation collection.

Rotronic has become the standard for water activity measurement for many seed storage facilities throughout the world. Although water activity is a relatively new technology to the Tree Seed Centre, it already plays an important role. Water activity measurement devices from Rotronic offer quick, non destructive tools for evaluating the free moisture in a sample of seeds. The meter outputs a value between 0 and 1, which is equivalent to equilibrium relative humidity (eRH). Aw or eRH differs from a moisture content test in that it only measures the free water rather than the total water content in a sample of seed. Free water is often far more relevant to germination, spoilage and shelf life of seeds. The amount of free water in a seed will depend on its relative composition of lipids, starches, and proteins. Storing seed in the freezer with a water activity measurement that is either too high or too low will decrease the longevity of the seed. The ideal level ultimately depends on the species; however, most people now accept the concept of a universal value. At the Tree Seed Centre, they keep within a range of 0.35 ± 0.05”.
The role of water activity measurement

Currently, water activity is used primarily for testing seed collected for genetic conservation and research. The seeds are often rare and valuable; thus a non destructive method of assessment is imperative. Collections intended for the seedbank arrive at the Tree Seed Centre grouped by population (noted by location), with each population containing,on average, a sample of 10 parent trees. Populations are stored in the cooler at 2°C to await an initial water activity assessment. If the water activity is too high, the seeds are dried back and retested prior to placement in the freezer at-18 °C to maximise seed longevity.

In the UK we have worked closely with Kew Gardens at the Millennium Seed Bank where a bank of Rotronic devices with direct PC connection are used to screen and test all seeds that are stored in their highly secure underground bunker.

Read the Kew Gardens article titled “A day in the life of a Seed Processing Assistant” here!

Kew
Six Rotronic eRH devices working in tandem with HW4 software at Kew Gardens.

For information on any of our products please contact us on 01293 571000 or email instruments@rotronic.co.uk or visit our website by clicking Here

RMS integration with Met Office DataPoint. An experiment with APIs…

The latest Rotronic Monitoring System software has been designed specifically for the IoT and IIoT world. We have a wide and growing range of sensors, loggers as well as input and output modules but we will never keep up with the unique demands of our customers. That’s where integration is key for any successful continuous monitoring system!

iot

Hardware can already be integrated via analogue input modules such as our 8ADC and digital devices can be integrated via our RMS-Convertor that can be programmed with custom protocols and functions operate with virtually any device.

Want to cut out the waffle… login and see the live data now using the details below:

https://rms.rotronic.com/rms/
Company Name: rms demo cloud
User: guest
Password: guest1234

In addition to hardware, software integration is a must, and not easy when we consider RMS is a fully Gamp6 compliant system and therefore security and traceability is key.

Why not access the SQL DB?

All data on RMS is stored within an SQL database which with suitable rights can be queried easily to pull data out. However injecting data whilst possible triggers our system to report data manipulation. Also direct access to the database presents a security risk and uncontrolled changes to the system, and of course its not possible on shared systems.

That is why we also offer a Restful API through which data can be posted only when configured by users with appropriate permissions and each data stream is securely linked to a onetime token, by no means the best security but suitable for many applications (and of course the whole API function can be disabled if preferred). We of course have software wizards at our HQ that can develop professional integration solutions but as a hobbyist I wanted to see what I could achieve.

Example API Report

So my plan was to use Python and pull data from the Met Office DataPoint service and inject it directly into our RMS server software so it could visualised, reported and analysed accordingly. Just a few simple steps…

  • Step 1 Get the data from Met Office API
  • Step 2 Create API device in RMS and send your data
  • Step 3 Enjoy graphs, reports and custom alarms

Step 1 – Get the data from Met Office API.

The Met Office API is great you simply need to register to get an api key then get your head around the commands. Once you have that you can request the data you need via a simple url and the information is returned in xml or json format.

API Example
Met Office Datapoint API Response in XML

In Python requesting the last 24 hours of hourly data from location 3212 (Keswick) looks something like this…

Import json, requests
url = ‘http://datapoint.metoffice.gov.uk/public/data/val/wxobs/all/json/3212?res=hourly&key=YOURKEY’ #replace with your Met Office API key!
r = requests.get(url)
metoffice_data = json.loads(r.text)

This gives a Python dictionary with all the json data from which we can request specific values easily for example the latest conditions (no doubt there are more elegant solutions but this works for me).

Hum = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘H’])
Temp = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘T’])
Pres = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘P’])
DewP = (metoffice_data[‘SiteRep’][‘DV’][‘Location’][‘Period’][1][‘Rep’][-1][‘Dp’])

Next we need to create our API device within RMS so it will accept our data

Step 2 – Create API device in RMS

Adding new API device in RMS is simple process, we create the device and define the Name and Serial number.

At this point RMS awaits an Post command in which the additional details are included. Using the Python code below I am able to create a device with 4 measurement points (measured values); Humidity, Temp; Pressure and Dew Point.

import json, requests

url = ‘http://rms.rotronic.com/wService/wService3.DeviceService.svc/UpdateDataJson’
headers = {‘Content-Type’ : ‘Application/json’, ‘Expect’ : ‘100-continue’, ‘Connnection’ : ‘Close’, ‘Host’ : ‘rms.rotronic.com’}

payload = {‘Name’:’API_Test’,’Serial’:’12345′,’Values’:[{‘Index’:’1′,’Typ’:’1′,’Value’:’50’},{‘Index’:’2′,’Typ’:’2′,’Value’:’23’},\
{‘Index’:’3′,’Typ’:’16’,’Value’:’5′},{‘Index’:’4′,’Typ’:’48’,’Value’:’1000′}]}
print (payload)
r = requests.post(url, headers=headers, data =json.dumps (payload))

Finally RMS gives us the device ID and API token which must be included in any future post commands.

Combining Step 1 and Step 2 allows us to simply replace my example values above with the real Met Office API data! Run the script hourly or permanently with an hour delay and we have a simple tool proving live data weather data!

Step 3 – Enjoy graphs, reports and custom alarms

With the data in RMS we can easily graph values and create email, sms or phone alarms. Taking the API further I it is possible download live satellite imagery and dynamically update the layouts in RMS!

Example Report

So it turns-out getting data into RMS via the API is simple with a bit of basic code. Of course Met Office data is just an example in modern industrial applications there is so much unique data from devices or software that might be of use and RMS aims to offer a complete monitoring solution not simply for our products!

Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions on the above or have any monitoring requirements. Use the demo login above or visit out RMS website for more details.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

Ladies Only Exhibition in Perfect Monitored Climate

casestudy

The Hohenzollern family came to Brandenburg 600 years ago, in 1415. Twelve prince-electors, seven kings and three emperors made Prussian, German and European history for almost 500 years.

queen

The women have been some what overlooked by historians, by turning the spotlight on them, the foundation for Prussian castles and gardens has paved the way to discovering hitherto unknown aspects of Prussian and European history. The foundation presents 300 exhibits from national and international donors in a an area of 900 Square meters, which include the oldest authentic woman’s dress in Brandenburg (c.1460) and the coronation cloak of Queen Augusta. 

The painting is that of Queen Augusta of Prussia, which is exhibited in a perfectly climatised room

Room Climate in exhibitions 

The climate and lighting are the most influential factors to ensure the preservation of museum exhibits, because they can cause damage by accelerating chemical and biological degradation processes. In recent decades, the exhibition sector has developed a standard for conservation conditions in exhibitions. For those with the most varied works of art, temperatures of 18°c-22°c and relative humidity around 50 %RH with slight variations, and lighting of 50 to 200 Lux, are striven for, depending on the sensitivity of the materials.

Theater “Ladies Only”

The theater in Charlottenburg has no central air conditioning system. The room climate is influenced by a massive building shell, with masonry walls some as thick as 80cm, solid, reinforced concrete ceilings and floors, and composite windows with double glazing. To reduce warming through sunlight, the windows on the south side have been given sunshades for the duration of the exhibition.

Measuring Equipment 

The foundation has until now had no experience with using the building as an exhibition area. For this reason there were very high demands on the quality and availability of the measurement data. The concept for the exhibition combines a large number of works of art made of the most varied and sensitive materials, understanding of measurements is developed over days, months and years.

“The Rotronic measuring system was convincing because of its high degree of data  security, but also because of its flexibility, low maintenance costs and simple operation.” Wulf Eckermann – Stiftung Preussische Schlosser, Germany

Rotronic Data Loggers

Suitable for a wide range of humidity and temperature monitoring tasks, Wireless transmission – Possible over distances of up to 100m.

log-hc2-rc_mit_clip_3Saves on wiring costs, and the data can be collected and recorded from inaccessible points quickly and easily. Thanks to the combination of wireless transmission and data logger, the greatest possible reliability against failure is ensured. Devices can be configured and read out via the HW4 software and now our latest web or server enabled RMS software. Application uses include: Meteorology, Food Industry, Building Technology, Museums, Environmental/Laboratory equipment, research an development, Pharmaceutical/chemical/logistics and textile industry.

Wireless data loggers for active monitoring

To monitor the climatic conditions reliably and flexibly, HL-RC-B wireless data loggers are used. The measured values are recorded locally and safe from manipulation in a memory with a capacity of 500,000 values. With no cabling requirement, and without provision of an infrastructure such as a LAN or power outlets, the loggers are mounted unobtrusively on walls and in glass cases, thus impinging only minimally on the exhibition concept.

For details on any of our products please visit our website

What is the latest monitoring system from Rotronic? A practical answer and a technical answer.

The Rotronic Monitoring System (RMS) has now been officially launched globally for 12 months and in use at some key clients for over two years.

RMS is a modern continuous monitoring system that embraces open architecture and interoperability as well as providing a compliant system for validated applications.

But how is this achieved and what exactly is RMS. There are two ways I find myself answering this…

  • The technical answer – for IT project managers, system integrators and cyber security managers.
  • The practical answer – for end users, project managers and smaller organisations.

What is RMS – The Practical Answer…

The practical answer is more visible via our online demonstration (request guest access here) and via the details on our RMS satellite website.

In short RMS provides a modern and complete monitoring system with a detailed web interface. The system provides users with ease of access to data, reliable and manageable alarms and extensive reporting. Importantly RMS can support existing hardware and interact with other software/hardware platforms.

RMS can be provided as a hosted cloud service or using a traditional licence whereby the client installs the system on their servers (local or cloud).

In summary RMS provides amongst other things…

  • Live interactive charts
  • Full reporting and automated/scheduled report generation
  • Complete event logging in line with GxP requirements
  • Full alarming with logic and time schedules
  • Email, phone, sms, relay and custom protocol alarm outputs
  • Auto back fill and retrospective alarms (ideal for transport logging)
  • Interactive layouts
  • Complete user rights management
  • Compliant to GxP designed around ease of validation

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Core RMS hardware includes Ethernet, WiFi, industrial wireless and RS485 devices as well as full support for existing Rotronic devices, 3rd party analogue devices and 3rd party digital devices using any of the above interfaces. The below graphic outlines the wide range of options available.

06 RMS Graphic

Contact us for further information or visit our website

What is RMS – The Technical Answer…

Let’s now go a bit deeper. For many organisations once end-users approve of a system the challenge is getting the system approved and installed in line with wider corporate policies and security. So far we have found that in discussions with IT project managers and cyber security managers, RMS has met their requirements – usually much to the surprise of the end users who perhaps initially expect a protracted battle! Typically for larger more secure organisations software is required to be installed within their network rather than using the Rotronic Cloud service. Below we discuss the main elements of this type of RMS installation.

RMS has two core elements.

1. Webservice; This is software aspect of RMS. The webservice provides the interactive webpage to present data for end users and allow system configuration. The webservice also works in the background to interact with hardware and the database. Typically the webpage will be part of the local intranet with an address like rms.yourorganisation.com, optionally the webpage can also be made accessible from the internet outside your organisation (like our cloud service which is available at http://rms.rotronic.com/rms – request guest access to the demo system here). For the clients (end users) no special software or plugins are required just a standard web-browser.

More technically the RMS webservice is built around ASP.Net framework and runs under Windows IIS (internet information services). The webservice therefore requires a Windows Server (2008, 2012 or 2016). The RMS software can be run on a standard PC with IIS enabled but this is not usually advised except for specific applications.

A note on RMS hardware; All Rotronic hardware initiates communication with the webservice via port 80. For cloud applications this means only port 80 must be opened outbound to allow the devices to initiate outbound communications to the server. All gateways have standard IP configurations (DHCP or fixed).

2. SQL Database; The second part of the RMS is its database. All device, configuration, user and measured data is stored within a standard MS-SQL database. The database is accessed by the webservice to store and read data as required. An existing SQL server can be used if available otherwise SQL-Express is free to install.

More technically the RMS database requires Microsoft-SQL Express or higher, the database can be on the same server as the webservice or a separate machine.

As RMS is built around standard server based systems, there is full support for load balancing and failover, as such should a webserver or sql server fail a redundant/spare can take over. This is standard procedure for larger IT systems.

Some other technical points about RMS.

  • Supports LDAP (so you can use windows login and password)
  • No personal data stored outside SQL database (hardware only stores unique serial code, date, time and measured values – as such no private data passes between hardware and software).
  • Webpage data is binary coded and authentication uses AES128 encryption.
  • Key exchange uses diffie-hellman key alogrithm.
  • 3rd party data / device support is possible via RESTful API or direct interaction with SQL database.

An overview of the RMS communication can be seen here.

08 RMS Communication

For many projects clearly we go much deeper but hopefully this provides an overview. Our experience to date has shown that RMS is closely inline with what our clients expect in terms of operations and security. Further developments are always underway, lead by our customers and their requirements.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss a project or gather further information.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK