I had an opportunity to get a firsthand look at a new calibration device that does more than calibrate devices in process facilities. At Beamex’s offices in Marietta, Ga.(www.beamex.com), I was shown how the company’s newly released MC6 device can handle calibration of pressure, temperature and electrical signal as well as communicate with fieldbus instruments using HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and Profibus PA.
The MC6, which is reported to have accuracy and stability rates comparable to bench-mounted measurement tools, features an IP65 rating and has five operational modes, meaning that it can operate as a meter, calibrator, documenting calibrator, data logger and fieldbus communicator.
As an example of the device’s accuracy, Beamex says the MC6 delivers accuracy in thermocouple measurements to 1/10th of a degree. Furthermore, all ranges on the device are temperature compensated.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the MC6 is its intuitiveness in accessing its various operational modes as well as in calibrating a connected field device. A large 5.7-inch touchscreen — which can be operated with or without gloves (see photo) — serves as the user interface. By touching the various fields on the screen, the user can drill down into those operations. Parameters on a device that cannot be altered show their related information, but are highlighted in grey. Other device parameters that have more detailed data to access are highlighted in yellow and feature a turned-down page corner at top right indicating that more information lies within and can be accessed by touching the yellow field. Green highlighted parameters are those that can be adjusted by the operator using the MC6.
An additional aspect of the MC6’s ease of use are the workflow instructions that appear onscreen leading the operator through proper calibration and communication procedures. These workflow steps even illustrate which data ports on the MC6 should be used to connect the field device to the MC6.
“More than 60 R&D engineers at Beamex were involved in the development of the MC6,” says Greg Sumners, president of Beamex, who adds that much of their direction in development of the device came directly from customer input. With engineering and operations budgets having been reduced across industries over the past several years, engineers are having to do many more jobs in a plant than they have typically done, says Sumners. “That’s why so much diverse functionality was included in the MC6 — to help reduce the number of tools these engineers need to do their jobs.
One of the many design highlights of the MC6 is the positioning of the strap connects on the upper left and lower right of the device (see photo). This positioning allows for easier handling of the device. Ned Espy, Beamex’s technical director, demonstrated how this strap configuration allows for the MC6 to rest on the user’s abdomen for touchscreen access with one hand, leaving the other hand free to manipulate the field device or other pieces of equipment as necessary.