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ISA Expo 08 News

Here’s a round-up of some of the announcements made at this year’s ISA Expo.

The newly named International Society for Automation (ISA) held its annual ISA Expo conference and trade show in Houston Oct. 14-16 at Houston’s Reliant Center. Exhibit space was similar to last year’s. The show floor was busy both Tuesday and Wednesday. While there was some emphasis on wireless and communication at this year’s event, many companies took advantage of the assembled attendees and editors to announce new products. Following is a look at some of them:

Apprion, Moffett Field, Calif., announced the release of the Apprion ION Wireless Audio application, an integrated solution designed to deliver quick, easy and cost-effective compliance with employee safety requirements and site security mandates. The ION Wireless Audio application includes an Audio IONizer and industrial-grade amplified speakers to produce crisp, clear tones, digital voice messages and live public address in harsh industrial environments with high ambient noise levels.

Banner Engineering Corp., Plymouth, Minn., unveiled its DX99 battery-powered Intrinsically Safe wireless transceiver. Described as a state-of-the-art combination of wireless communication, battery technology and intrinsically safe electronics—all in a single housing—the unit is designed to provide a new way to collect analog, digital and temperature information in hazardous areas. Compared to traditional explosion-proof and intrinsically safe methods, the DX99 provides a simpler way to perform hazardous area sensing by moving the intrinsically safe power supply from the control room to the wireless transceiver, Banner said. The DX99 uses a liquid lithium battery to provide an intrinsically safe power source for the transceiver and a third-party sensor, and can transmit and receive up to three miles.

Byres Security Inc., of Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada, and British-based MTL Instruments, a division of Cooper Crouse-Hinds, rolled out the Tofino Modbus TCP Enforcer Loadable Security Module, a cyber security product designed to perform detailed analysis and filtering of all Modbus TCP messages. Certified by Modbus-IDA, the product allows owners of control and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to regulate Modbus network traffic to a level of detail that has never before been possible, the companies said, thereby increasing network security, reliability and performance of critical systems. “As far as I know, no other bus on the market can offer any security, and now Modbus can,” said Byres Security Chief Technology Officer Eric Byres during a press conference announcing the product.

Cypress Envirosystems, San Jose, Calif., a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp., announced that it has partnered with Honeywell to create a Honeywell OneWireless version of the Cypress Envirosystems’ Wireless Gauge Reader. Based on technology from Cypress Semiconductor, the patent-pending technology will be manufactured by Cypress Envirosystems to Honeywell’s specifications. The Wireless Gauge Reader is designed to clip onto the front face of an existing dial gauge; it uses a tiny, chip-based camera to read the analog gauge and transmits the data wirelessly to a central server, using a proprietary 2.4 Gigahertz mesh network.

Several major automation vendors demonstrated EDDL solutions in their automation systems and for their devices at the ISA104 standards committee's booth. Automation systems from ABB, Emerson, Invensys, and Siemens interoperated with devices from Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Foxboro Eckardt, Metso, MTL, Samson, and Siemens.

The Fieldbus Foundation and ISA announced an agreement to facilitate the implementation of wireless backhaul transport networks. This technology initiative is based on shared interests in serving the needs of end users and suppliers of wireless systems in industrial automation. At an ISA100 meeting in June, ISA100 leaders established a new working group, ISA100.15-Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group, to develop and maintain a standard to address one or more dedicated or shared wireless backhaul(s) to support technologies running multiple applications. The first of these backbones will be the Fieldbus Foundation's High Speed Ethernet (HSE) implementation.

Green Hills Software Inc., Santa Barbara, Calif., demonstrated a secure environment for hosting SCADA applications. Integrity Padded Cell secure virtualization technology hosted Microsoft Windows and Linux guest operating systems running on an Intel core 2 Duo processor. The Iconics Genesis32 automation suite was hosted inside one of the secure Integrity Padded Cells. The company also announced a partnership with 3S, Smart Software Solutions, makers of CoDeSys IEC 61131 programming software for creating controller applications.

HIMA, a designer and manufacturer of safety automation solutions, introduced its latest HIMatrix F35 controller for Subsea applications. Together with its Norwegian representative Bjørge Saas System AS, HIMA has developed a HIPPS (High Integrity Pressure Protection System) that monitors excess wellhead pressure and partially isolates pipe pressure by closing off affected pipeline segments. The HIMatrix F35 Subsea controller is designed to meet the rigorous demands of the growing subsea market and is one of the first safety-related programmable logic controllers for use at up to SIL 3.

HMS Industrial Networks has extended its Anybus-IC family with the addition of the Anybus-IC for Profinet IO.

Honeywell announced the introduction of the XNX, a universal gas transmitter using Honeywell Analytics’ full range of toxic and flammable gas sensing technologies—including catalytic bead, electrochemical and infrared. The XNX also works with all major industrial communication protocols, including Hart (standard) and Modbus (optional). The XNX is designed to help protect people, property and environment from toxic and combustible gases in petrochemical and industrial environments.

Industrial Defender Inc. announced that it has obtained approval from the United States General Services Administration (GSA) under contract 35F-0617U to provide Professional Security Services for critical infrastructure industrial control systems to the Federal Government. It is part of the comprehensive Cyber Risk Protection Lifecycle solution which enables the efficient assessment, mitigation and management of cyber security risk within the critical infrastructure network domain.

Invensys Process Systems (IPS) announced a line of SIL 2-certified pressure transmitters and the achievement of dual-seal certification required by the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). The company’s five most popular Foxboro Hart version pressure transmitters are now SIL 2-certified by TUV Rheinland, and all IPS differential, gauge and absolute pressure transmitters meet the new Canada CEC/NEC Dual Seal certification.

National Instruments Corp., Austin, Texas, announced a high-performance eight-slot chassis that delivers deterministic expansion I/O to the company’s LabView graphical development platform. The new chassis provides high-speed jitter-free communication for applications such as distributed control, machine building and hardware in the loop. The NI 9144 also features two Ethernet ports, making it possible for engineers to daisy-chain multiple NI 9144 chassis from a single controller to expand time-critical applications while maintaining hard determinism with minimal processor resources. It uses EtherCat technology for deterministic Ethernet (but not TCP/IP).

Nivis and Apprion announced that the two companies will collaborate on providing industrial facilities with reliable, secure wireless networks, devices, applications and services.

Ocular, Richardson, Texas, introduced two lines of HMI systems. The Cascade features ARM9 processors while the Denali features Intel x86 processors. Both product lines include Crystal Touch projected capacitive touch screens. The touch panel is made of capacitive glass, resulting in a durable surface less susceptible to scratching and environmental contamination than resistive polymer film.

Phoenix Contact introduced the Quint SFB family of industrial grade power supplies, which are billed as the first industrial grade power supplies to feature Selective Fuse Breaking (SFB), a technology that increases system reliability. The company also introduced two new additions to its Marking system line. The new Thermomark W2 thermal transfer printer simultaneously prints on both sides of Phoenix Contact endless shrink sleeves. Additionally, new UniCard marking card options make the Bluemark printer compatible with a wider range of terminal blocks. Other new entries included the ILC 150 VLC—a compact, low-cost embedded control platform for small- to medium-sized applications. This new platform adds a controller choice at the low end of the Phoenix Contact VLC scalable controller architecture.

Ridgid introduced the microExplorer Digital Inspection Camera. This tool is designed to capture digital quality images and record video in color to help analyze problems and make a more accurate diagnosis. It is a handheld video inspection system that allows users to take digital quality images and record video onto on-board memory or a secure digital (SD) card. An integrated mini USB port is available to transfer the recorded information onto a computer.

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. said it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) that will improve the processes used to convert second generation, non-food-based, biofuel feedstocks—including perennial grasses, animal wastes and agricultural residues such as corn stover—into liquid bio-fuel intermediates, such as bio-oil.

To view the accompanying story, click here.


Banner Engineering Corp.

Byres Security Inc.

Cypress Envirosystems

Fieldbus Foundation

Green Hills Software Inc.


HMS Industrial Networks

Honeywell Analytics

Industrial Defender Inc.

Invensys Process Systems


MTL Instruments

National Instruments Corp.


Ocular LCD Inc.

Phoenix Contact


Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.

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