February 2003

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 55       February 2003
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

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* Windmill News
* Windmill measures powder flow rate in recently
  published research
* Excel Corner
* Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

Windmill News

Many thanks if you returned last month's survey - your 
answers were very helpful.  There's still time if you 
wish to make a contribution.  The survey is now on the 
web site at

Last month we launched an RTD monitoring package 
comprising Windmill software and a 752 data 
acquisition unit which plugs into the PC's USB port. 
We've now made the Manual to this package available 
from the web site in pdf format.  To view the 
Manual visit
and select 752 User Manual.
For more details of the package see

Windmill Monitors Powder Flow Rate in Recently
Published Research

Knowing the rate that different powders flow can improve 
pharmaceutical processes such as capsule filling, 
tableting, blending and storage. This month a scientific 
paper investigating powder flow rate was published in the 
International Journal of Pharmaceutics.  As part of the 
study the researchers used Windmill software to monitor the 
mass flow rate of powders. 

When doing this they allowed powder to flow through an 
orifice directly upon an electronic balance. The balance 
was connected to a computer through its RS232 serial COM 
port. Windmill Logger, running on the computer, 
continuously recorded readings from the balance and stored 
them alongside the time the readings were taken. The data 
was then transferred to an Excel spreadsheet. From the 
slope of mass versus time plots, the scientists could 
calculate the flow rate in grams per second.

For more on Windmill's part in the process see

For the full paper see
Kachrimanis K., Karamyan V., Malamataris S., 2003, 
Artificial neural networks (ANNs) and modeling of 
powder flow. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 
250 (1), 13 - 23.

To obtain the Windmill software suite together with 
our latest serial driver (called COMIML) see

For less sophisticated but free serial interface 
software subscribe to this newsletter.

Excel Corner: Naming Ranges, Constants and Formulas

Carrying on from the last Excel corner - more tips on 
naming cells in Excel.

The Quick Way to Create Names

You can use existing column and row labels to quickly 
create and name ranges in Excel.  Select an area of 
data, making sure that the column labels are in the top 
row (for example "Channel1", "Channel2", etc) and the 
row labels in the left-hand column (for example "Day1", 
"Day2", etc). Go to Insert>Name>Create and check the 
Top Row and Left Column options.  Click OK. Each column 
of data will now be a range named after the Channel, 
and each row will be a range named after the Day number.

To see the ranges select the drop arrow to the right of 
the name box and choose one of the newly created names 
(eg Day2), you will be taken directly to that row or 
column of data.  This can save much time and mis-typing 
with large tables of data.

What we can now do is cross reference our table and very 
easily extract information at the intersection of two 
named ranges.  For example, if we wanted to find 
Channel3's value on Day4, all we need to do is type 
=Channel3 Day4 and push Enter.  (Note the space between 
the two named ranges.)

This method can be used in place of some very deeply 
nested Look-up formulas like VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP.


Naming Non-Contiguous Ranges

The ranges that we name are usually contiguous, in other 
words all cell boundaries are adjoining.  However, if we 
need to name non-contiguous ranges, we can do this 
simply by selecting cells and holding down the Control 
key.  Once we have our selection, we can simply go again 
to the Name Box and type in our name.

Let us assume we have named our non-contiguous range 
"MyRange" and it incorporates many different cell 
references.  We can now replace a formula that may have 
looked like =SUM(A1:A5,D6:D10,Q50:Q57,BB30:CC43) with 
=SUM(MyRange).  Be careful when doing this as not all 
Excel's functions that take ranges as their arguments 
will exclude the cells between the non-contiguous named 
range.  As with all things, if uncertain, give it a 
thorough test first.


Naming Constants

Often when developing a spreadsheet you will be 
regularly referring to a specific figure for 
calculations.  This often means either referring to 
a cell containing the value or simply typing the value 
in the cell itself.  What we can do is instead of 
naming a cell or range of cells, is name a constant 
value.  To do this:
1. Go to Insert>Name>Define
2. Type the name of the constant in the 
   Names in Workbook box
3. Click in the Refers to: box and enter the value 
   of the constant.
4. Click Add then OK.


This article by Ozgrid Business Applications.  Ozgrid 
are specialists in distance online Excel and Excel VBA 
training, plus worldwide sellers of Excel add-ins and 
business software. Their web site offers many more Excel 
tips and tricks -

For tips on using Excel with Windmill see

For more on naming ranges see Issue 53 of Monitor.


Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

Every other month we list forthcoming exhibitions and 
conferences related to data acquisition and control.

Electronic House Expo
26 February - 1 March
Orange County Convention Center Orlando Florida USA
Product demonstrations and seminars on home networking, 
automation, entertainment and security.

Midlands Manufacturing
19-20 March
NEC Birmingham UK
Latest developments and technology in subcontract 
assembly, automation, fabrication, packaging, labelling, 
materials, CAD/CAM & IT, inspection and electronic 

25-28 March
Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles Paris France.
Focuses on design, systems integration, production, 
test and measurement.

Hannover Messe
7-12 April
Hannover Germany
World Fair for Industrial Technology includes factory 
automation and innovations market for research and 
technology.  Admission $22 for one day.

ISA Ireland
29 April
Cork. Ireland
The Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society 
exhibition and seminar

Sensor 2003
13-15 May
Nuremberg Exhibition Centre Germany
Features sensors plus measuring and control technology.

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

We are happy for you to copy and distribute this 
newsletter, and use extracts from it on your own web site 
or publication, providing the above notice is 
included and a link back to our website is in place.

An archive of previous issues is at
and an index of articles at

Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 834 6688
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190


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