Happy 4th of July!

May Freedom Ring!







SnackEx 2015 Istanbul

SNACKEX 2015 closed its doors on 11 June after a record attendance of over 2,600 snack industry professionals from 83 countries.

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SNACKEX is organised by the European Snacks Association (ESA) and is the only savoury snack and snack nuts event in Europe serving as the pre-eminent business meeting place for the whole industy.




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OPC, Kepware, DDE, Ethernet, Modbus/TCP! What Does All of This Mean?

Software communication options can sometimes be confusing and complex when first encountered.  Listed below is a glossary of common acronyms, what they represent and a brief outline of our PSC Viewer Suite Software and Guardian Communications.  Please visit our Process Sensors Website for more information.


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Ethernet:  Physical method of cabling that connects devices on the Ethernet network.  Basically, there are two types of Ethernet, Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN).  LAN example might be computers in an office connecting to a central server.  WAN example might be doing your banking over the internet.  Our transmitters and Guardian Systems communicate on a Local Area Network.

IP (Industrial Protocol):  The Internet Protocol is the most basic protocol. It simply moves a packet directly from one Ethernet device to another Ethernet device. Almost everything moves across the internet using IP.

TCP (Transport Control Protocol):  TCP is a protocol that creates a connection between two nodes over Ethernet. TCP maintains a connection and uses acknowledged messaging to transfer messages between two devices. That means that all TCP messages generate a reply. If there’s no reply, there’s an error.

OPC:  For old timers, OPC is OLE for Process Control.  OLE is Object Linking and Embedding.   These are Industry Standards for communication platforms so that end users and suppliers agree to exchange data in a specific format.  Now OPC is Open Platform Communications.  It is a Client / Server technology. One application acts as the server providing data and another application acts as the client using the data. OPC is a widely accepted industrial communication standard that enables the exchange of data between multi-vendor devices and control applications without any proprietary restrictions.  OPC has also grown beyond its original OLE implementation to include other data transportation technologies including XML, Microsoft’s  .NetFramework,  and even the OPC Foundation’s binary-encoded TCP format.

Kepware is the communication platform we have selected for OPC communications.  End user needs to purchase a copy of Kepware Runtime and download for some nominal fee like $100 for the system that is communicating with the Guardian (or transmitter).  This is only required when customer requests OPC communication.

DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange):  DDE is a method for exchanging information between applications running on Windows.  A simple example is exchanging data between Word and Excel.  All you really need to know is that it is a Windows based method to exchange data between applications.  It’s been working since Windows 2.0!

CIP (Common Industrial Protocol):  CIP is the basic component that forms the basis of EtherNet/IP. There are two parts to CIP, an Object/Attribute Library and a Messaging structure.  CIP devices use a very specific data model based on Objects (related collections of data) and Attributes (Data Identifiers).  CIP devices have a very specific set of messages that they support. There are Explicit Messages and Implicit Messages. Explicit messages are sporadic, one-time messages requesting data values or setting parameters. Implicit messages are ongoing I/O messages that are exchanged between two CIP devices.

EtherNet/IP is a very complex protocol but you can break it down into this; the Scanner (usually a PLC) exchanges data buffers with each Adapter. The Scanner sends Outputs to each Adapter device. Each Adapter device sends some Inputs back to the Scanner.  This is not our physical across the web scanner, it is the PC scanning the network.  The Adapter is our transmitter or Guardian.

Modbus is a serial communications protocol that allows multiple devices to be attached to the same network.  An example might be connecting a moisture transmitter and separate temperature transmitter to the same network.

SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system operating with coded signals over communication channels so as to provide control of remote equipment (using typically one communication channel per remote station). The control system may be combined with a data acquisition system by adding the use of coded signals over communication channels to acquire information about the status of the remote equipment for display or for recording functions

RS-485 is a Recommended Standard for local networks and multi-drop communications link that transmits data at 35Mbit/s at 10 meters and 100 kbits/s at 1200 meters.

HMI is a Human Machine Interface such as a PLC or a PC equipped with Wonderware or such.

Both EtherNet/IP and Modbus/TCP are Ethernet Application Layer protocols that use the TCP and IP protocols of the TCP/IP stack. They are both highly structured ways of moving data between automation devices in an industrial application.  The difference is in how data is represented to the network. EtherNet/IP represents data using the CIP object structure. Modbus TCP represents data as a series of registers (16-bit unsigned values).


Guardian System Communication as an Example

Our NIR (Near Infrared) Transmitter communicates to the Scanner Controller Board via RS-485 Modbus Protocol.  This is also how our transmitter communicates with the Operator Interface (OI). The Scanner Control Board communicates with the Guardian PC via Ethernet link using a Windows based Stand-Alone-System.

PSC Viewer Suite Software for the Guardian meets the needs of our customers.  Customers can get data on scan and zone averages for archiving.  Viewer Suite is not limited to just Ethernet.  It can use USB and serial links (RS232 and RS485 multi-drop) as well.

Viewer Suite Software is not limited to scanning frames. It can be connected to multiple sensors and scanning frames at the same time.   PSC Viewer Suite Software is smart.  If it’s connected to a transmitter only, it presents transmitter software.  If it’s connected to one or more scanners it automatically detects that and pulls up Guardian Viewer Suite Software.  It can also recognize when it is connected to a mix of scanners and static transmitters.

The Viewer Suite Software saves Zone /Average data to Excel, CSV, XML and to its built-in supplied industry standard SQLite database which is used for simple roll reports.   When an HMI is controlling the Guardian or advanced options are required OPC/Kepware and Modbus/TCP are available.

Super Bowl Combatants

Process Sensors Congratulates the AFC Champion New England Patriots and

NFC Seattle Seahawks on their victories in the Conference Finals and look

forward to the Super Bowl!


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Happy Ice City from Process Sensors for New Year’s!

Process Sensors wishes to Gift You with a view of the Annual Harbin Ice Festival in China!  An incredible City of Ice!


Harbin Ice Festival Wikipedia Entry Entered in Part Below Click to Learn More from Wikipedia.


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The festival originated in Harbin’s traditional ice lantern show and garden party that takes place in winter, which began in 1963. It was interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, but has since been resumed when an annual event at Zhaolin Park was annnounced on January 5 in 1985.

In 2001, the Harbin Ice Festival was merged with Heilongjiang‘s International Ski Festival and got its new formal name, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

In 2007, the festival featured a Canadian themed sculpture, in memoriam of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune. It was awarded a Guinness Record for the world’s largest snow sculpture: 250 metres long, 28 feet (8.5 m) high, using over 13,000 cubic metres of snow. The composition consisted of two parts: the “Niagara Falls” and the “crossing the Bering Strait” (the latter depicting the migration of the First Nations).

In 2014, the festival celebrated its 30th anniversary with the theme “50-Year Ice Snow, Charming Harbin”. Various fairs, competitions and expos were held from 20 December 2013 to February 2014.[2]

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (Chinese: ????????; pinyinH?’?rb?n Guójì B?ngxu? Jié) is an annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in HarbinHeilongjiangChina, and now is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. At first participants in the festival were mainly Chinese, however it has since become an international festival and competition. The festival includes the world’s biggest ice sculptures.[1]

Officially, the festival starts on January 5 and lasts one month. However, exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. While ice sculptures are erected throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas:

  • Sun Island is a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features an expo of enormous snow sculptures.
  • Ice and Snow World is an area open during at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3′ thick ice taken directly from the Songhua River. At first China celebrated it then Harbin took over.

During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city. Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.

Harbin is located in Northeast China and receives cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F), and –16.8 °C (1.8 °F) in winter. Annual lows of -35 °C (–31 °F) are not uncommon.


Harbin China Ice Festival 2012

What Really Are the Zero and Span Calibration Controls?

Fair enough question.

The answer can be expressed in a couple of ways depending on your background and interest.

Moisture, oil/fat and coat weight etc., are all components measured with established Near Infrared (NIR) Technology.   Moisture is measured at 1.94µ or 1.42µ. Organic coatings are measured at 2.34µ and oils/fats at 1.72µ.  These are well established applications in theory, practice and documented literature.

The accuracy of a NIR transmitter is dependent upon calibration samples across a realistic dynamic range.    Normally 3 to 5 samples throughout the dynamic range and including the set point target are the best approach for calibration.  Near Infrared absorbance and constituent content (lab value) enjoy a linear relationship.  The transmitter must be most accurate at the set point.

The zero and span calibration controls are used to make the Near Infrared transmitter display values match the lab values within the limitations of laboratory accuracy and sample handling.  Collecting lab vs. NIR Transmitter values allows for a linear regression to be performed that will yield a correlation    co-efficient, standard error, slope and y-intercept.

Our “Zero” is an offset adjustment, meaning that if the measured value is 2% up or down, that it just needs an offset or zero adjustment around the set point.  The “Span” is a sensitivity adjustment, meaning that for a given change in absorbance, there is a given response in the digital measurement.  The fully automatic calibration sequence adjusts the zero and span for the operator based on these calculations to provide the correct Zero and Span for the analyzer to accurately measure and display the NIR measurement.

Enter Calibration Parameters of Lab vs. MCT Transmitter

Blog Page


Correlation Co-efficient, Standard Error and New Zero and Span

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Large 5.7” Display with Analog Outputs & Ethernet Communications

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Cross Direction Web Profiles


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PSC NIR Solutions!

Process Sensors has many Near Infrared (NIR) Solutions for your Process,

At-Line and Laboratory Needs. Call us!



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Happy Halloween!


Halloween is thought to be an outgrowth of the Celtic holiday for “Summer’s End” celebrating the end of the Harvest Season.  The ancient pagan festival began over 2,000 years ago and many Celts believed that the dead walked among the living during this festival.  The idea of dressing up as the dead in costumes may have been to fool the spirits that the living were one of them and thus pass them by.  Today it’s a huge American Commercial Holiday that accounts for billions of dollars in sales and continues to grow worldwide.

Happy Halloween from Process Sensors…and Annabelle!


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Hot Melt Measurements With Guardian Options

hot-melt-adhesivesHot Melt Measurements are typically measured with Near Infrared (NIR) transmitters that provide a digital display in engineering units, analog outputs and a digital interface.  The NIR non-contacting Hot Melt measurement is extremely accurate and stable with no regulatory requirements.  The measurement can be fixed point or scan across the web to provide a cross direction web profile.

The Guardian Web Profile System provides a Cross Direction profile on a large flat panel LCD in an economical and attractive enclosure. The Guardian is fully automated with product recipes for scan speed, zone average, and data logging digital outputs. This is a complete system with automatic web edge detection to provide the highest value performance to cost ratio. The system can supply CD Web Profiles and MD Trends for hot melt thickness, residual moisture and temperature. Multiple measurements can be displayed on a single large display screen.

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The Entry Level Profile System provides a simple and inexpensive automatic scanning frame with a 12” Operator Inteface (OI) for profile display and controls mounted on the frame end.  The Simple Cross Direction Scanning System with Digital Display allows for automatic scanning or jogging to fixed position for machine direction measurement and display on a 5.7” touch screen.

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Some Dogs Are Just Big Puppies At Heart!

Happy Friday from Process Sensors!