Sustainability evident in product innovation

Innovation is often more about developing a new use for an existing technology than it is about creating a new technology or product from scratch. Recently, I've come across two new innovations—both of which grew out of initiatives to help companies save energy and money—that really grabbed my interest.

04/01/2009


Innovation is often more about developing a new use for an existing technology than it is about creating a new technology or product from scratch. Recently, I've come across two new innovations—both of which grew out of initiatives to help companies save energy and money—that really grabbed my interest.

One of these is an array of non-invasive sensing and wireless technologies from Cypress Envirosystems. Some of their products, like the Wireless Gage Reader, literally snap on to existing dial gages to capture and transmit the readings wirelessly. How do these gage readers do it? According to Harry Sim, CEO of Cypress Envirosystems, the readers optically capture an image of the analog gage reading, convert it to a digital reading, and enable the data to be transmitted wirelessly to a central or mobile application.

More solidly on the sustainable engineering front is Cypress' Wireless Steam Trap Monitor. The steam trap monitor detects faults and alarms on error to avoid leak losses with failed traps, which—on an 1/8-inch orifice pipe—can cost up to $5,000 a year. Considering that most plants have a 15–20% failure rate on the hundreds of steam traps typically installed in the steam distribution system, this adds up to a considerable savings.

Other new advances that have caught my attention recently are the new sensors coming out of Rockwell Automation's Advanced Technology Laboratories.

As an example of these sensors, Fred Discenzo, diagnostics and sensors manager, Rockwell Automation, points out a multi-element sensor used to probe the chemistry of fluids. These multiple-sense elements can fit on a single substrate (10 microns in size), and be immersed into a fluid to continuously monitor temperature and conductivity by using a varying AC signal to probe the sense elements. "This is useful in probing polar compounds to detect materials or contaminants that could not otherwise be detected with a DC resistance sensor measurement," Discenzo says.

Another unique, new sensor from Rockwell is one used to monitor the torque of a rotating machine in real time. In this sensor, a photoelastic material exhibits a change in index of refraction as a function of the strain or how much it has been deformed.

Rockwell's labs have transformed this plastic into a torque sensor that can be clamped onto the shaft or used as part of a coupling. "We have a processor that interprets that signal using an artificial neural net and gives us a high accuracy measurement of the amount of angular strain or deformation of that part," says Discenzo. He also notes that, using this new sensor allows testing to be done for less than $100—as task normally performed by commercial torque sensors that typically cost several thousand dollars.

For more information on these innovative products, see www.controleng.com/CA6643164.html

david.greenfield@reedbusiness.com





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me