Friday, June 1, 2018

Supporting automation in Ireland for forty years.

This month June 2018 marks te 40th year of the ISA Ireland Section as it was chartered chartered on Friday 29th June 1978. A celebration to mark this and also to celebrate the election of Brian Curtis as 2018 President of the Society, was held last April - see picture below.

The Section Charter 28 June 1978
The ISA Ireland Section was formally chartered on 29 June 1978 after a number of steering committee meetings that had been held beforehand by the original founders so as to make sure that the criteria were met to set up a new ISA section. At that time the Ireland section was only the third section to be chartered in Europe and the eighth section to be chartered internationally.

The name of the Society at that time was Instrument Society of America and this was changed later to reflect the international aspect of the organisation to the International Society of Automation. A number of former section presidents such as Bob Shine, Fred Gilroy, Maurice Radford, Liam McDonnell, Eoin Ó Riain, Frank Maher, John Power and Aidan Howard all played major roles in setting up the ISA Ireland Section. Mr Hugh Wilson who was worldwide ISA President for 1978 handed over the charter in person at a celebratory dinner held at the Silver Springs (Clayton) Hotel in Cork on 4 September 1978.

Section History  2002
compiled by Bob Shine
A lot of the detail about the early history of the section is outlined in a book authored by section historian Bob Shine and published in 2002, titled “ISA Ireland Section – 25 Year History 1977-2002”. In addition to the section past presidents that were involved in the initial steering meetings and securing the charter, other key people such as Dan O’Sullivan, Eddie O’Connell, Tom Nulty and Eddie Kenny played a major roles in getting the section up and running.

The section still maintains a steady membership of more than 200+ members scattered throughout the island. The ISA Ireland section has had a chequered history since its foundation forty years ago as it has continuously held numerous meetings, technical talks, conferences, symposia and exhibitions throughout the country. The section has always strived to satisfy the automation needs of a progressive country that was and still is undergoing a rapid industrial transformation on all fronts throughout many sectors of industry.

The section has hosted a national prestigious Honours & Awards ceremony for 36 years of its existence. The opulent and elegant Common Room within the quadrangle of UCC has been the location of this yearly section flagship H&A event for the last twenty years. The section has been very fortunate to have hard working and dedicated committee members elected on a yearly basis to serve the membership and the profession whereby they tirelessly promote automation and control as outlined within the vision and mission statements of ISA.

Over the past forty years of activity, 34 individuals had the privilege and honour of serving in the distinguished role of section president and five of these people have served two terms of office, namely: Fred Gilroy, Liam M Donnell, John Lotty, Alan Bateman and John Murphy. It is important to acknowledge the four past presidents who are sadly no longer with us but they are always in our thoughts, namely: Ger Dullea, Fred Gilroy, Maurice Radford and John Farrell.

The ISA Ireland section has punched way above its weight for many years and this has not gone unnoticed by other ISA senior volunteers around the world.

A number of past presidents have served on the global ISA Executive Board with the first of these been Maurice Radford who was District 12 (which at that time was all geographical areas outside North America) Vice President. Maurice was the face and spokesperson for ISA Ireland internationally some thirty years ago and he was a trail blazer for many years flying the Ireland flag with distinction.

Brian Curtis, 2018 Society President
During the last few decades this mantle has been taken up by Declan Lordan, Billy Walsh, Kevin Dignam, Eoin Ó Riain and Brian Curtis. Additionally Dave O’Brien is the current District 12 (which presently covers Europe, Middle East and Africa) Vice President and thus continues a long tradition for the Ireland section. Brian Curtis, Declan Lordan and Brian Curtis have all served more than five years at different times on the global ISA Executive Board which is a major achievement for a section which has a much smaller countrywide population than most of its counterparts. The pinnacle of this service and achievement is evident in 2018 as Brian Curtis is the worldwide ISA President which means that we have several reasons to celebrate this historic year for the Ireland Section.

Report compiled by Billy Walsh, current Section Secretary.

Presidents of ISA Ireland Section down the years

Friday, January 5, 2018

Ireland Section Awardees 2017

The ISA Ireland Section Honours and Awards for 2017 was held in the august chambers of the Senior Common Room at University College Cork. The selection committee comprised Tim Crowe, David O’Brien and Billy Walsh. Former Section President Alan Bateman is Chair of the H & A Committee.

The event was hosted by Current Section President John Murphy and the awards were presented by Cork's Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr. Fergal Dennehy.

Jack Cremmins (IT Carlow) was Craftsperson of the Year.
Jack Cremmins has completed his apprenticeship as an Electrical Instrumentation craftsperson. Jack has achieved credits in every subject for phase 2,4,6.
Jack has also received the student MEETA award at the Engineers Ireland awards in 2017 For developing an IOT platform for modern process measurements. Jack served his apprenticeship with Hanley Controls Clonmel and has worked on several major projects in the area.

Ivan Walsh (Dublin IT) was recipient of the Degree Award in 2017.
Ivan Walsh has been an outstanding student on the degree course in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Dublin Institute of Technology.

Ivan’s final year project entailed the Automation of a Cardboard Tube Dryer Process
The objective of this level 7 final year project was to automate a laminated cardboard tube drying process using a OMRON Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and WEINTEK SCADA system using cx-one software. The automated system employs forced air convection drying of the layered glues holding the laminated cardboard tubes together. This reduces drying time by 80% compared to current drying, while maintaining product strength and stability. The automated dryer was designed to have a touch panel SCADA interface where an operator can enter unique drying recipes corresponding to the thickness, diameter and length of the tubes. The SCADA also displays real time data for air temperature and humidity and corresponding drying curves.

The process has three closed loop controllers currently using ON/OFF control which were programmed in the PLC. The first control loop regulates air flow using four blast fans. The second control loop has two dehumidifiers used to regulate the humidity of the drying air based on relative humidity measurements. The third control loop regulates the temperature of the drying air using two remote condensing units. As part of the project the temperature and humidity instrumentation was commissioned as well as both controller actuators. Additional fault code was designed to monitor for operation alarms and faults for each of the actuators and feedback instrumentation. The PLC programming, dryer commissioning, and factory acceptance testing all took place onsite in in Industrial Packaging Ltd Bray Co. Wicklow where the process is now fully operational.

Dylan Darcy (IT Tallaght) received the Honours Degree Award
Dylan is a first class honours student with an exceptionally high GPA of 3.71. The highest attainable GPA is 4.0. and a GPA of 3.25 is required for a first class honours award. In 4th Year Measurement for Interfacing and Control Dylan Darcy achieved a grade of 87 % in his exam, one of the highest in class. He got a 72% mark in the continuous assessment section of the course, this mark is partially based on group work with others in the class. In the group sessions, some were quite prescribed tasks and one was a very open ended project. So these tasks required groups to overcome internal issues, allocate tasks, create and present material. Dylan acted very much as the go to person for his group and others, he showed excellent leadership skills in bringing people together and getting the required tasks completed. He has consistently preformed very well in his exams since starting on his education in IT Tallaght.

Dylan was awarded an A for his final year project which involved the design, construction, programming, operation and testing of a four-cable positioning robot and vision system. The robot moves an end-effector attached to four cables using stepper motors. A camera mounted above the rig is used to take a still image. This image is processed in Matlab. Locating marks on the base of the rig are used to identify and align the workspace. A moveable target circle on the base is then identified by Matlab and the robot moves the end-effector to the location of the target. The robot is programmed primarily in Matlab, and an Arduino is used to control the motors. The focus of the project was on the development of the Matlab code to operate the robot and finished prototype is fully functional.

Dan Moore (DePuy Synthes) was recognised for the Innovative Project Award.
This award is to recognise a project which has made a significant contribution to the advancement of industry in Ireland through the use of Automation Technology.

Automation Champion was Brendan O'Regan of Zenith Technologies.
Brendan is founder of Zenith Technologies in 1998 which now has 16 offices worldwide with over 800 skilled employees, delivering over 3500 years combined engineering experience.

He is recognised for the following contributions
• Pioneering application of distributed Control Systems to Pharma batch automation in the mid- eighties. One of the first applications to Batch in Pharma API in Ireland.
• Pioneering interfaces between DCS and PLC subsystems using novel techniques of parallel and serial data connectivity.
• Development of standard S88 compliant software modules for control of Operations, Phases, Equipment Modules and Control Modules. Deployed these modules successfully in other parts of the world for major Pharmaceutical Companies.
• Development of a Batch Matrix model for the definition and control of Software project execution.
• Pioneered the use of Multiplexers in the Hazardous Area for discrete signal collection and processing.
• Pioneering deployment of Mass Meters and Radar level controls for use in Pharma processing.

Pioneer Award, Frank Maher, (Rtd ESB), Section President 1986-7
Frank is one of the founding members of ISA Ireland Section. Amont the offices he has held are:
• Newsletter and Education Chair, Secretary ISA Ireland 1981-84
• Section President ISA Ireland 1986-87
• Member European Task force and Treasurer of the European Region 1988-91
• Founder Member and Secretary of ISA Leinster Section 1996
• Leader of Host Committee for European Region Workshop in Wicklow 1997

He qualified as an Instrumentation Technician from first course organized by ESB Generation Department as no college run courses available in 1965. He obtained Full Tech. Certificate by private study while also securing C & G Boiler and Turbine Power Plant Operation Certificates 1966-69
Although he was elected as Instrumentation Supervisor for the newly constructed power station at Tarbert in Kerry in 1969, due to a family bereavement decided to remain in the midlands and take a position as Regional Technologist attaché to the Midland Generation Region with responsibility for Allenwood in Kildare, Portarlington in Laois and Rhode in Offaly Peat powered generation stations.
In 1971-2 he transferred to Ferbane station to update the plant instrumentation and to develop standards for measurement of the critical parameters for required for efficiency measurement. Sourcing equipment and supervising installation of the systems in eight of the Midland Region stations.

A interesting fact about Frank is that he it was who came up with the name of this award, The Pioneer Award in 1983 when it was first awarded. This makes it all the more pleasurable that he should be recognised with this particular award.

• Pictures are by Trevor Hallows, a member of the Ballincollig Camera Club.