Temperature instrumentation gets fancy

Senior Tech Editor Rich Merritt notes that temperature sensors, recorders and controllers are warming up to new technology in this Product Roundup of temperature instrumentation devices.

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By Rich Merritt, Senior Technical Editor

AS WE REPORTED last month in this space, a veritable flood of truly new products is hitting our industry. It’s as if the floodgates of R&D have opened up, pouring out new, innovative and spectacular products into the control market. Temperature instrumentation is the latest group of products in which we have seen such progress.

Networking is one example. Several of the products described in the roundup below come equipped with the usual analog and serial interfaces, plus Profibus, Ethernet, wireless, Modbus and HART. Some even have built-in Web servers, so you can monitor their readings from a browser, and one will send email messages with alarms.

High technology is finally showing up, as the market researchers have been predicting for years. We are beginning to see the emergence of self-diagnostics and MEMS (microelectromechanical system) technologies, plus advances such as multilingual operator interfaces and safety-oriented systems with built-in backups.

Nearly everything is programmable by the end user these days, from data loggers to signal conditioners, so you can tailor many of these products to fit your needs. Programming varies from PC downloads to adjustments on the control panel.

Infrared sensors are particularly loaded with new features, such as laser aiming, on-board cameras, multi-wavelength sensors, and more.

Product Roundup:
Temperature Instrumentation

Ethernet Input Modules
BusWorks 965EN and 966EN temperature input modules transmit thermocouple and RTD sensor data across any Ethernet media, including an existing IT infrastructure, CAT5 cable, fiber optics or wireless networks, without a network controller or software programming. They accept four or six inputs, and transmit to a remote output module that provides 4-20mA or 0-10V signals. Acromag; 800/881-0268; www.acromag.com.

RTD Module Links Via AS-I
The PT100 temperature module has an AS-Interface and four analog inputs for RTDs, is IP65-rated for operation in hazardous environments, and is field-mountable. Connection to the outputs is established through PG cable glands and cage tension spring terminals. Users may pre-address the module by plugging it onto the adapter of a hand-held programming device. It has a function display for bus and inputs. Pepperl+Fuchs; 330/486-0001; www.am.pepperl-fuchs.com.

Data Loggers
Talk to the Web
TR-70W Internet-ready temperature data loggers have a built-in 10/100 base-TX Ethernet, a CF slot for a wireless 802.11b card, and a micro-web server. The built-in web server allows viewing of current temperature and humidity data, or a graph of the last seven days worth of data, via a standard web browser. Stored data can be downloaded via an Internet browser for further analysis using software supplied. Computer Aided Solutions; 440/729-2570; www.computeraidedsolutions.com.

Temperature Controls Go Modbus
Models ETR-8300 and ETR-4300 temperature controllers have Modbus communications, remote setpoint input, dual inputs, 18 bit A/D converter, and four independent programmable outputs for heating, cooling or alarms. Inputs include field-programmable thermocouples, two standard RTD curves, and six linear process inputs. Ogden Manufacturing; 847/593-8050;  www.ogdenmfg.com.

Hockey Puck Transmitter
The Sitrans TH300 hockey puck temperature transmitter has galvanic isolation for maximum process safety in thermocouple applications. If a short-circuit between the thermowell and thermocouple occurs, the transmitter will not pull the 4 to 20 mA loop to ground. It has HART communications, a simulation function for commissioning, and a malfunction indicator. Siemens Energy & Automation; 215/646-7400;  www.usa.siemens.com.

You’ve Got Alarming Mail!
The Mini-Sat field station and AD592 temperature sensor can control, monitor and/or set alarms anywhere in the world as long as an Internet connection is possible. Alarms can be sent to pagers, email addresses and phones. Automata; 530/478-5882; www.automata-inc.com.

Temperature Controller
The dTron 300 controller has a multicolor LC display with background lighting, a PC setup program, and four buttons on the front panel for operation and parameterization. The operator can define up to eight freely programmed parameters at the user level. The link to a supervisory system or a PLC can be provided through an RS485 or Profibus interface. Jumo Process Control; 610/380-8002; www.jumo.us.

Web-Based Controls
The iDR series signal conditioners and PID controllers have an Ethernet connection, so the instruments can connect directly to a LAN and serve Web pages over the Internet. The devices are configured with a handheld programmer or from a PC with an Ethernet, RS-232, or RS-485 connection. Its universal signal input takes ten thermocouples, 100 and 1000 Ohm RTDs, DC voltage and current, and strain gauges. Newport Electronics; 714/540-4914; www.newportUS.com.

Safety First
The Model 3144P temperature transmitter meets IEC 61508/61511 safety specs. A Hot Backup function automatically switches to the backup sensor if the primary sensor fails, providing affordable sensor redundancy. A Sensor Drift Alert function notifies the user if an unreliable measurement is detected, allowing time for the degrading sensor to be replaced before failure. Existing 3144P users can upgrade to a safety certified transmitter by simply replacing the standard electronics assembly. Emerson / Rosemount; 952/949-5165; www.EmersonProcess.com.

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