Editor’s choice

new low cost intrinsically safe steady state beacon

BEKA associates have introduced a new low cost, intrinsically safe, steady state beacon which complements their well established intrinsically safe flashing beacons. The new steady state BA386S beacon is available with a bright red, amber, green, blue or white continuous output. It has an IP66 enclosure with an internal brightness control and is ideal for hazardous area process or machine status indication. This new BA386S steady state beacon has IECEx, ATEX and FM Ex ia

certification and may be powered from most certified 24V Zener barriers, galvanic isolators or certified associated apparatus. It may be installed in all Zones and used with most common hazardous area gases. If slightly less brightness is acceptable, a fur ther cost reduction can

be achieved by powering two BA386S steady state beacons from one Zener barrier or galvanic isolator. For fur ther information including datasheets and cer tificates please

visit or phone the BEKA sales office on 01462 438301.

new measurement method could have applications in the energy industry

A method for for measuring radioactive methane, developed by Juho Karhu in his PhD thesis work at the University of Helsinki, is a first step towards creating a new precise measuring device.In his research, Karhu utilised an

optical frequency comb and an optical parametric oscillator The new method is an optical one based on spectroscopy. Previously,

radioactive methane has been measured with accelerator mass spectrometry, involving expensive and huge machines. According to Karhu, optical measuring could be a cheaper and more agile method with additional applications in different industries. The method created by Karhu is based on the absorption of

materials, i.e. how the material retains light at different wavelengths. By measuring how much the material absorbs, we can deduce how much it contains different components. In his research, Karhu analysed which wavelength the light source used should have in order to measure radioactive methane. This is a first step towards a functioning measurement device. Optical methods have been used before to measure radioactive carbon

dioxide. So far, we have not reached the same precision with optical methods as with accelerator mass spectrometry. Karhu is the first scientist to apply optical techniques to the measurement of radioactive methane. According to Karhu, the optical method for measuring radioactive methane could be applied in fields such as energy production. The method could be used for finding out the composition of fuel, for example. The authorities could analyse how much of a biofuel consists of biogas and how much is natural gas, Karhu explained. The method could also be applicable in nuclear power plants. It could be used to measure the levels of radioactive methane on-site. Samples would no longer have to be sent to a laboratory. 10

method will help engineering firms make major gains in productivity and efficiency

To ensure complete accuracy, Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) are housed in a strictly temperature-controlled environment. But manufacturing processes often lead to big increases or decreases in the temperature of components. Until they are stabilised they cannot be checked. “Temperature soaking” is the term for this, and a “play safe” attitude means that larger components can be set aside for as long as 24 hours, causing a log jam in production, with costly CMMs standing idle. But at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Computing and Engineering, a research project headed by Dr Naeem Mian has carried out a series of experiments that provide engineering firms with a technique for calculating how long it takes for a component’s temperature to be stabilised so that it can safely be measured by a CMM. It has been found that the waiting times can be considerably lower that

generally thought – potentially a reduction of many hours. For example, Mian and his team carried out various experiments with a heated venturi and discovered that time required for temperature soaking, so that it could be placed on a CMM, was as low as 7.6 minutes. Mian set out to discover the Thermal Contact Conductance (TCC) values of

the components he was testing and used Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to validate his findings and to simulate workplace conditions. In addition to his experiments with the venturi, he also conducted tests using

a heated aluminium plate placed on to a granite block embedded with sensors – granite being the substance used for the test bed in CMMs. “We did those experiments to establish the heat transfer rate from the

aluminium plate to the granite,” said Mian. The technique he describes will have a significant effect on the management

of CMM resources and would greatly reduce the machine downtime by efficiently managing the machine availability. April 2019 Instrumentation Monthly

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