August 12, 2014

Creative Heads – A Youth Competition in Wertheim

Creative Heads_Logo

For more than ten years, the competition „Creative Heads“ (in German: Kreative Köpfe) is held in the cities Bad Mergentheim and Tauberbischofsheim. Four years ago, Wertheim took part in this contest for the first time.

It is a competition for young inventors from the age of 12 years. One of the main objectives is to motivate young people to put their ideas into practice, since they are especially creative. In collaboration with the companies from Wertheim, pupils can develop innovative products based on their own visions and ideas.

Furthermore the competition offers the students a possibility to have an insight into technical professions.

It is not rare to see that companies are interested in using the adolescents’ creativity for their own purposes. At the end of the contest participants are confronted with patent applications, sometimes. The reason for patents arises in the fact that until a further agreement is reached, the right to the invention lies with the juveniles.

This year INDUSTRONIC supports the young inventor Luca Weise with his thought of a “clear view”.

Our contestant developed an automatic traffic light identification module.

The idea behind the innovative invention is to acoustically warn a driver when the color of a traffic light is not recognizable due to solar radiation.

Along with our instructor for technical professions, Luca was able to develop and implement his automatic traffic light identification module. His efforts paid off. Luca won second place in the category “Innovation & Creativity”.

To this we congratulate our inventor warmly!

For more information about the competition, its participants and winners, please click here.

August 8, 2014

INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Duplicated Control System

The topic of today’s blog post is the Duplicated Control System (hot stand-by operation), another basic system redundancy concept.

Please refer to the previous articles about this topic: “Introducing INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts” and “INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Single System with N+1 Components” if you need more background information before reading this post.

The Duplicated Control System consists of an active control unit (the Main Unit) which consists of all components of the central exchange unit (e.g. exchange control board, line cards, digital audio processor (DAP), power supply, etc.) and a second control unit in hot stand-by mode (the Secondary Unit) which is equipped with exactly the same components. Usually both the Main Unit and the Secondary Unit are installed in the same cabinet so that there is only little installation space required.

Both control units are synchronized. In case a component of the Main Unit fails the second control unit is automatically activated. After the failure is eliminated switching back can be carried out manually via software interface or if available via keypress at a service intercom station.

By default all intercom stations, amplifiers, speakers, beacons and F&G contacts are connected to both control units to provide high component availability.

Optionally, INDUSTRONIC can provide additional component protection by integrating the digital audio processor (DAP) and the power supply in N+1 configuration for each control unit.

Compared to the Single System with N+1 Components this redundancy concept ensures higher protection as all components of the central exchange unit are duplicated and not only the most critical components.

In my next blog article you will get to know the A+B System (shared operation) concept.

DuplicatedControlSystem

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August 1, 2014

INDUSTRONIC Barbecue

Last week we had our annual INDUSTRONIC Barbecue. The weather was fantastic, the timing perfect. As always the entire team had lots of fun, heaps of great food and a good time!

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July 23, 2014

Standards – Standard Interfaces – Connect the World

Standards – Which Standards?

As you might remember in the 80s and the early 90s there were so many standards as nearly every company created their own ‘standards’ and ‘standard interfaces’.

The reason was that the computer and communication technology was on an upswing in this era, everyone involved tried to sell his idea of standards and standard interfaces on the market.

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The regulatory agencies and accreditation bodies weren’t as present and dominant as they are nowadays.So nearly everybody pursued his own interests and almost no devices were compatible to each other.

The loser at the end was the customer, who wanted to get things working…

 

Interfaces – What Exactly Is It?

An industrial communication and warning system like the INTRON-D plus consists of many interfaces, not only in hardware but also in software. As INDUSTRONIC utilizes open source software, like LINUX, standard interfaces are used – from software development standards to standard industrial interfaces like Modbus/TCP through to standard hardware interfaces like USB.

Standards – And When to Use Them

Standard Interfaces are very useful if you want to interconnect with other systems. An industrial communication system often must be implemented in a plant-wide SCADA system or the status must be transmitted to a SNMP system.

Telephones and telephone systems (PABX) must be integrated. A SIP interface can solve this demand. If you can check off these (and some more) demands you will be ready for today’s industrial communication requirements.

Some of our supported standards are:

Not using standards make sense if you connect your own devices to your own system. The advantages are varied:

  • Very close implementation of special hard- and software functions
  • Very fast response times due to closer hardware interfaces
  • Own software protocols with advanced features compared to standards

 

In Conclusion

INDUSTRONIC has implemented the most useful and common industrial interfaces – in hardware and in software to interconnect all those devices, applications and technologies which we encounter in our business.

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We at INDUSTRONIC make also use of proprietary software and hardware interfaces to implement functions which are useful for our customers and necessary for our projects.

The INTRON-D plus system expands the functions of industrial communication and warning systems to one of the most versatile and user-friendly system worldwide.

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July 18, 2014

INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Single System with N+1 Components

In one of my recent blog posts I gave you a short introduction to INDUSTRONIC’s component redundancy concepts. Please refer to the “Introducing INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts” article.

In the coming posts I would like to give you more details on the three basic redundancy concepts INDUSTRONIC offers:

  • Single System with N+1 Components
  • Duplicated Control System (hot stand-by operation)
  • A+B System (shared operation)

Redundancy Concepts

In today’s blog post I will focus on the Single System with N+1 Components which is defined as follows:

INDUSTRONIC provides a single system with the option to protect important components by exactly one backup component in hot stand-by mode. Hot stand-by mode means that the component is powered and ready for immediate service. In other words if the main component fails, there is an automatic switchover to this backup component which takes over completely after a short timeout. There is no manual intervention required.

INDUSTRONIC recommends the N+1 configuration of the power supply, the central exchange control board, the amplifiers and the digital audio processor (DAP) to provide increased component availability.

This redundancy concept is primarily used to protect individual components from failures caused by age or wear. It provides a standard backup protection for important and critical components at a reasonable price. Feel free to contact us if you need more details on this system redundancy concept.

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July 10, 2014

INDUSTRONIC – Get to know us!

This week we would like to introduce you to the “Engineers of Communication”. Watch our corporate video and learn who we are, what we do, and why we have been successful for 50 years now.

 

We look forward to receiving your comments on our new corporate video!

July 4, 2014

On-site Service – Customer Service Centers in Germany

INDUSTRONIC on Site

Starting in 1964, INDUSTRONIC was able to steadily expand its business when the projects were managed from the headquarter.

But with the introduction of the INTRON and INTRON-S systems in the 1980s and after introducing our first emergency call system in 1991 significant location changes became inevitable.

The INDUSTRONIC management understood that due to customer’s needs a quicker handling of occurring failures was essential. Therefore the target was to provide technical on-site service (installation, commissioning and maintenance) all over Germany.

Until this time, in the beginning of the 1990s, INDUSTRONIC was only present with its headquarter in Wertheim (Baden-Wuerttemberg) and for a short time with a technical office in Muehlheim a. d. Ruhr (North Rhine-Westphalia).

With the opening of the Service Office in Ludwigshafen (Rhineland Palatinate), first actions towards expansion were taken in 1992. The goal was to build an office from there the on-site service activities could be planned.

Just three years later, INDUSTRONIC was able to expand again and opened a Customer Service Center in Dormagen (North Rhine-Westphalia). Our highly qualified staff offers a 24 hours on-site service on 365 days a year and is also responsible for diverse sales activities such as consulting, planning and training.

Whereas the Center started with just seven employees, today 15 motivated staff members are looking forward to realize our customer’s projects, always working closely together with the colleagues in the headquarter in Wertheim.

In 2002, additionally to the foundation of INDUSTRONIC Beijing, the second Service Office was opened at the Hoechst Industrial Park near Frankfurt a. M. (Hesse).

Similar to the office in Ludwigshafen, the main function of this location is to provide a base for the INDUSTRONIC Technical Service employees. From there the service assignments are coordinated.

To make sure that the customer support also covers South and North Germany, INDUSTRONIC decided to put up another Customer Service Center in Berlin, in 2007.

Today INDUSTRONIC offers worldwide customer support with a network of certified partners and representatives which will be steadily expanded.

For more information, please click here.

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June 26, 2014

Technical Support Center offers customer service with a ticket system

Our business partners praise the high quality of INDUSTRONIC systems. However, it sometimes occurs that customers or partners need support. This is when our Technical Support Center (TSC) comes into play. Four competent colleagues are here to answer your technical questions regarding already installed INDUSTRONIC systems and products. To better handle the incoming inquiries we implemented a ticket system.

Technical Support_Ticket System

Example of the ticket system with indication of the status

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June 18, 2014

Half-duplex vs. Full-duplex

Full-duplex | Half-duplex | Simplex

 

Communication systems are point-to-point systems, where two devices or groups / parties are connected.

Some devices can communicate in both directions, simultaneously. These two paths or channels can transmit audio or data

Full-duplex systems can also be employed in communication / control networks to allow two-way communication or to use the reverse path for monitoring or remote control of field equipment.

If the devices don’t establish their communication paths simultaneously but in a competing way, then we speak of half-duplex connections or links.

Some systems do not need full- or half-duplex capabilities and use simplex communication instead. The source sends and the target just receives the data / audio (speak / listen).

Examples for simplex communication are: broadcast radio or wireless microphones.

 

But simplex communication philosophy won’t be our story today…

 

 Full-duplex (FDX)

 

A full-duplex system allows communication in two directions, different to others, it happens simultaneously. Normal telephones are full-duplex devices, since they allow both subscribers to listen and speak at the same time.

 

 FDX

 

In industrial communication systems often handsets are used for full-duplex voice transmission, due to the high ambient noise and the risk of acoustic feedback.

Also station-to-station connections in full-duplex mode are possible and used in industrial environments. Feedback suppressors, DSPs and echo cancellers are techniques to get adequate results of full-duplex performance.

 

But remember: Harsh environment conditions and high ambient noise can destroy your plan to use full-duplex due to the ‘Unwanted Effects’.

 

Full-duplex and the ‘Unwanted Effects’

Acoustic feedback

Acoustic feedback is an unwanted effect that causes the system to override with a constant tone. Everybody has already heard this effect on pop or rock concerts.

The reason is that the output from speaker is fed into the microphone, then amplified and finally fed again into microphone with an increased volume level and so on. This effect has to be suppressed, because the intelligibility goes to zero.

Acoustic feedback suppression can be done mechanically and / or electrically.

 

Echo

An Echo is an effect that let you hear yourself with a certain delay. It is very disturbing while you speak and get you rather confused. The reason of that effect is that the return (listen) line is fed from the far end and comes back with a delay.

This effect should also be removed? – Of course it should!

 

These aspects above make it worth to have an eye on…

 

Half-duplex (HDX)

 

A half-duplex system also enables communication in both directions, but not simultaneously. This means only one direction is used at a time. Examples are a walkie-talkie or push-to-talk communication stations.

HDX

Push-to-talk is a good synonym for half-duplex voice communication: Push button to talk, release to listen. This is a common procedure in industrial communication systems due to the demands of process communication mainly in the steel industry or on water treatment plants.

 

Who is the winner?

For industrial applications with their very special and acoustically difficult surroundings with high ambient noise you will not find the ‘One and Only Solution’.

Depending on the working environment and demands, a half-duplex connection can be the medium of choice, due to a disciplined communication style (push-to-talk, release-to-listen).

For other applications, a full-duplex connection is the only way to go – e.g. if a worker has no hands free for a push-to-talk operation or in terms of telephone conversations when you want to communicate ‘In Private’.

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June 12, 2014

Offshore Safety – An Insight into International Acknowledged Training Courses

In April we wrote about how an offshore commissioning trip might be conducted.
Now we would like to give you a brief explanation why certain certificates are needed before being able to work on an offshore platform and how to obtain them.

To be allowed to step on an offshore platform, commissioners and other personnel need to prove that they received special training complying with international standards and that they learned how to react properly in emergency situations at sea.

Well-known standards worldwide are OPITO (Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation) and NOGEPA (Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association).

Various international providers train and certify attendees (groups, mostly up to 12 participants) according to the standards mentioned above. Usually the certificates are valid for four years and the training has to be repeated regularly.

BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Response Training) is a basic training course with the aim to prepare the participants for appropriate behavior in a general case of emergency at sea.

The HUET & EBS (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training and Emergency Breathing System) course, for example, focuses on training the right behavior in case of a helicopter crash. In this course you learn how to exit a helicopter that sinks and/ or that is about to capsize. Furthermore, you practice how to open a helicopter window and how to use an emergency respirator under water.

Both training courses are usually split into two parts. The theoretical lectures built the foundation and the basic knowledge, whereas the practical parts stick out with simulated crashes and maritime search and rescue (SAR) exercises.

To take part in a course like this a participant should show a good level of physical fitness.

Generally, platform operators decide which standards have to be fulfilled by their employees. At the moment there is no superior certificate which combines all relevant standards. Therefore, depending on the platform and its operators, you may need different certificates.

For more information, please have a look at the following websites:

- OPITO

- NOGEPA

- Video of BOSIET training

 

Have you already done a certified offshore safety training? Please feel free to tell us about your experience!

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