Tag Archives: environment

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

Rotronic Monitoring System integration. Pulling data into your systems

Data Integration is Key

Data integration is one of the primary requirements for many of our customers. I have previously discussed how RMS easily supports the integration of external data, but this posts takes a look at how RMS allows you the export data.

https___www.rotronic.com_media_events_images_1495454818_RMS_ML_GW

Of course RMS provides excellent graphing, statics and reporting as part of its core functionality, however here we are discussing the tools that will more likely be used for Machine to Machine (M2M) integration.

m2m

Machine to Machine (M2M) integration is absolutely key as data is increasingly being used for different purposes through businesses. So whilst RMS provides a highly secure and configurable platform for monitoring and alarming there are many weird and wonderful functions that it cannot provide. In this case we need to pull the data out and use it elsewhere.

Getting Data out of RMS

RMS is an SQL based system so we could of course query the SQL directly however there are many limitations with this approach especially security. Also via our RMS cloud platform absolutely no direct SQL access is available to end users.

Instead RMS supports a RESTful API, we’ll use a simple example to go through the basic steps.

RMS GET API

As before I’ll use some Python scripts in this example but if you prefer, POSTMAN is a great tool for testing these types of APIs.

Let’s breakdown the steps.

  1. Request API token using your username and password
  2. Use Token to request specific data
  3. Use data as required

Step 1 – Request a Token.

For security reasons you cannot simply send a request and get whatever data you desire. First you must request a token from RMS. The token is linked to a user account and will only allow the data that is visible by that user to be accessed. When requesting a token you can also specify how long it is valid for. The maximum length is 30 days.

import json
import requests

url = ‘https://rms.rotronic.com/RMS/API/RequestToken.ashx’
headers = {‘Content-Type’ : ‘Application/json’, ‘Expect’ : ‘100-continue’, ‘Connnection’ : ‘Close’, ‘Host’ : ‘rms.rotronic.com’}

UsrID = “1”
User= “Jeremy”
PW = “########”
Exp = “30”

get_payload = {‘UserId’:UsrID,’Username’:User,’Password’:PW,’RequestType’:’ DataHistory’,’ExpirationDays’: Exp}
api_get = requests.post(url, headers=headers, data =json.dumps (get_payload))
token = json.loads(api_get.content)
token = token.get(‘Token’)

The above request with suitable credentials will return something along these lines.

{‘UserId’: 1, ‘RequestType’: ‘DataHistory’, ‘Token’: ‘jUsTaNeXaMpLe_HRwOi8vd3d3LnczLm9yZy8yMDAxLzA0L3htbGRzaWctbW9yZSNobWFjLXNoYTI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJVc2VySWQiOjM5MzEsIlJlcXVlc3RUeXBlIjoiRGF0YUhpc3RvcnkiLCJFeHBpcmF0aW9uIjoiMjAxOS0wNC0wM1QxNToyMzoyMC44MTgwODM4WiJ9.rtHHKvrE-7jnMNHUGazso_jUsTaNeXaMpLe’, ‘Status’: ‘OK’}

The API token being the jumble of text above. With the token in hand we can proceed with requesting our data.

Step 2 – Request Data

To request data we need the measuring point ID for the data we need which can be obtained from the RMS interface (every measured parameter has a unique ID within RMS that will not change and cannot be reused). We also define the From and To ranges as well as the number of values we wish to obtain (Count).

import json
import requests

url = ‘https://rms.rotronic.com/RMS/API/DataHistory.ashx’
headers = {‘Content-Type’ : ‘Application/json’, ‘Expect’ : ‘100-continue’, ‘Connnection’ : ‘Close’, ‘Host’ : ‘rms.rotronic.com’}

MPTID = “20”
From = “2019-03-04T08:00:00”
To = “2019-03-04T09:00:00”
Count = “10”
Token = “token from step 1”

post_payload = {‘ID’: MPTID,’From’: From,’To’:To,’Count’:Count,’Order’:’Asc’,’Token’: Token}
api_get = requests.post(url, headers=headers, data =json.dumps (post_payload))
data = json.loads(api_get.content)
print (data)

The above request with suitable details will return something along these lines.

{‘Status’: ‘OK’, ‘ID’: 20, ‘Name’: ‘Humidity-18071604′, ‘Parameter’: ‘Humidity‘, ‘Unit’: ‘%rh‘, ‘Data’: [{‘Time’: ‘2019-03-04T08:00:14+01:00′, ‘Value’: ‘29.45%rh‘}, {‘Time’: ‘2019-03-04T08:05:14+01:00’, ‘Value’: ‘29.80%rh’}, {‘Time’: ‘2019-03-04T08:10:14+01:00’, ‘Value’: ‘29.61%rh’}, {‘Time’: ‘2019-03-04T08:15:14+01:00’, ‘Value’: ‘29.29%rh’}, {‘Time’: ‘2019-03-04T08:20:14+01:00’, ‘Value’: ‘29.80%rh’}]}

Step 3 – Use the data

So we have our data in JSON format from here it’s an easy step to chopping out the specific values and handing them over to some other code, machine or simply displaying them for yourself.

The flexibility of RMS is an important requirement for our customers especially those with existing systems. Using RMS as the central platform ensures precision measurements, secure and reliable data collection and easy access to data. Using our  APIs then allows this data to be utilised in wider business operations.

integration examples

Customer examples using the API include

  • Live temperature data included in packaging labels
  • Automated calibration certificate generation using reference values from RMS
  • Visualisation of RMS data on 3rd party software for building efficiency displays

Conclusion

This article focuses on our RESTful API however we have many other options for integration of data including relay output modules, analogue output modules, direct SQL connection. In addition our RMS-Integrator hardware offers direct communication with devices via MODBUS, SNMP and MySQL.

So the message is simple; if you have requirements RMS can usually deliver what you need. Please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your project be it large or small.

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Controlling Critical Decontamination using Rotronic Probes

casestudy

The Amira company, located in the Province of Brianza, Italy produces devices and machines for use in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals and research centres. The BioReset line of instruments has been developed, patented, and realised in the course of the last few years, and is marketed worldwide. These instruments are for bio-decontamination using hydrogen peroxide vapour, a technology that allows a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and moulds to be eradicated, even at low temperature, and without negative effects on the treated environment. The reason for this is that the corrosive effect of hydrogen peroxide is minimised in its gaseous state.

To ensure that the vapor does not re-condense, Amira integrate specific sensors in their solutions that allow temperature, humidity, and dew-point inside the treated rooms to be
monitored with extreme precision. These Rotronic sensors are resistant to the corrosive effects of hydrogen peroxide.

Reliability and precision
“We had no doubts whatsoever about the choice of components to be used in these areas,” says Angelo Delmiglio, founder and CEO of Amira, who has known and valued Rotronic solutions for over 25 years. “Rotronic products are renowned for their reliability. Thorough comparisons have shown that these products, even in specific cases, are optimally suited to provide the necessary precision and repeatability of the processes.”

From among the many solutions that Rotronic offers for decontamination with hydrogen peroxide, Amira decided in favor of the HygroClip2 (HC2) probe. Thanks to their housing made from corrosion resistant material (polycarbonate or chrome steel, depending on the model), these probes are especially suitable and, with their extreme precision and short response times, ideal for the pharmaceutical industry. International pharmaceutical companies rely on Amira solutions, and in all applications
of this kind, the Amira devices, thanks to part to the high quality of the components used in them, are 100% capable of meeting the customers’ expectations.

AMIRA s.r.l.


The company is highly regarded for the quality of its products, and is active in the global market, where, in addition to its products, it offers comprehensive after-sales service, including verification, calibration, and operator training. The complete BioReset bio-decontamination product line, developed by Amira, is sold all over the world.

For information on any of our products please visit our website here or contact us on 01293 571000.

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

12 Slides explaining Water Activity; what it is and how to use it!

Water activity is a useful parameter for many industries. Measuring water activity takes only a few minutes so can provide results quickly, ideal for critical control points.

However water activity is a qualitative measure therefore interpreting results can be complex. The following slides provide an overview to water activity and how to utilise Aw measurements.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our webpage to download our latest AW White Paper!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

 

 

Five Applications where Water Activity is critical and why!

Not clear on what water activity is? Check out our other posts on water activity here!

Water activity affects a wide range of products from pharmaceuticals to foods, here we take a brief look at five typical applications where water activity measurements are used.

Remember water activity affects biological, chemical and physical properties of products.

Application 1 – Food

Water activity is critical in food production, reducing water activity reduces the available moisture for spoilage organisms to utilise as such low Aw can limit or prevent growth and spoilage.

Aw is often used to screen raw ingredients or end products to confirm that they are within tolerance. Aw measurements only take a few minutes and can therefore provide immediate feedback. This can save time, money and prevent health risks or product spoilage.

Aw can be used as an excellent indicator of shelf life. Once a production process has been fine tuned to deliver products with suitable shelf-life, online aw measurements can confirm production consistency.

Classic methods to control Aw in food are listed below.Slide14

Application 2 – Paper

Water activity or %equilibrium relative humidity in paper may not be your first thought, but the impact of poor or changing ERH in paper can be very costly. Changes in ERH can cause paper to curl or lead to increased static both of which can cause paper jams. For an industrial printing company this can lead to costly downtime. ERH also affects the binding of inks, drying times and ultimately spoilage by moulds and fungi.Slide15

 

Application 3 – Pharmaceutical Products

Drug production and storage is one of the most highly regulated manufacturing sectors. All stages of drug production, storage and delivery rely on critical control of many factors including water activity. Most drugs must be stored in stable conditions hence the advanced moisture impermeable packaging used. Aw readings as well as humidity monitoring and control are utilised to ensure free water is maintained within tolerance.

Slide16

 

Application 4 – Seed preservation and storage

Seeds present an interesting challenge, if Aw is too low the seeds quickly become non viable, where as too high and they may germinate or suffer spoilage through mould or fungal growth. One of the most critical seed preservation projects is the Millennium Seed Bank project. More details about how Rotronic AW meters were used is avaialble on the Kew Gardens websiteSlide17

 

Application 5 – Soaps and powders

Finally we come to good old washing powder, even with powders and liquids now packed into clever tablets and pods Aw remains critical. The materials must be stored in a way that ensures safe delivery to the customer but can be released once in contact with water in your washing machine. The science of behind the latest washing powders and liquids relies heavily on the measurement and conrtol of water activity and %ERH!Slide18

 

Hopefully this brief in site into how water activity affects so many day to day products has been useful. For more information visit our website or contact us to discuss!

Dr Jeremy Wingate
Rotronic UK

Durable, Adaptable, Accurate

casestudy

Campbell Scientific (CSC) are an ISO 9001 certified company who are a leading manufacturer in a variety of applications related to weather, water, energy, gas flux and turbulence, infrastructure, and soil. Campbell Scientific, are committed to satisfying the instrumentation needs of their customers, and are internationally recognised in the measurement and control industry for producing accurate and dependable instruments

csc2

HC2A-S3

 

CSC systems are acclaimed for their dependability, which they demonstrate even in the most extreme weather climates. Their attributes include wide operating ranges, low energy usage, many communications options, and the flexibility to support a wide variety of measurement  and control applications. Applications include, agriculture, air quality, fire warning, water quality, weather and climate recording, structural monitoring, Geo-technical monitoring and mining.

Rotronic and CSC have been business partners for many years, CSC uses the standard Rotronic meteo probe in many applications. Recently CSC installed the probe in a network of Road Weather Information Systems  in Kelowna, British Columbia. CSC selected the probe because of its reliability, ease of use and accuracy. The HC2A-S3 is also highly regarded for its ability to function in extreme temperatures, this makes it good for the  Canadian climate, and a perfect complement to Campbell Scientific systems.

csc2
” We value the Rotronic HC2A-S3 probe for its ability to function at extreme temperatures.” Mike Ryder Campbell Scientific, Canada

For more information on the latest HC2A-S click here ,or for any of our products please visit the Rotronic website.