Various requirements: dynamic applications, long distances, and extreme ambient conditions.
In the context of increasing process optimization, flexibility, and improved machine and system performance, the extent to which rotating or mobile machine systems are automated is on the rise.
At the same time, the mechanics of machines and systems are becoming more compact and complex and the need for communication is also increasing. It is no longer practical or economical to face these challenges without using a wireless communication solution.
Below are a few examples from the field of production automation.
Distributed control systems, intelligent drive control systems, and sensor systems that need to be maintained remotely are being used increasingly in rotating and mobile machine systems. A prerequisite for this is high-performance and above all transparent Ethernet communication.
Ethernet communication cannot be practically implemented via the collector wires normally used for this. Ethernet communication via Wireless LAN or Bluetooth is therefore being used more frequently in these applications.
Whether it's automobile production, the automation of material flow or warehouse logistics, guided, mobile hangers often transport the required parts between the individual work stations or warehouse areas. The long-established serial data transmission between the central controller and the moving hangers via collector wires is now reaching its limits due to the low transmission rate of just a few kilobits per second.
Communication in many of these applications is now already taking place via a wear-free, fast wireless LAN connection. A special leaky wave cable antenna is laid along the entire track to enable stable and reliable communication.
Autonomous transport systems, warehouse shuttles, and carry systems that move independently in the system increase flexibility and improve the efficiency of material transport. The main advantage here is the ability to easily adapt to the continuously changing requirements and conditions of a modern production system. Communication with these autonomous systems can only be realized with wireless systems.
Depending on the application, over 100 mobile transport systems that cover a large area need to be integrated into the network. Such applications can only be realized with a high-performance WLAN network. Fast and reliable roaming by the WLAN client between the various WLAN access points in the network is a prerequisite for uninterrupted operation. Wireless LAN modules from Phoenix Contact have therefore been specially optimized for fast roaming.
Wireless communication is already being used as the technical or economical alternative to optical transmission systems in many high-rack warehouses. In more complex applications in which several storage and retrieval machines are operated on a single rail, for example, wireless communication is often the only practical solution.
Video cameras are also being installed on the storage and retrieval machines in order to analyze the cause of problems. High data rates are essential for such applications. While a Bluetooth solution is sufficient for pure controller communication, applications that require a high data rate need to be implemented with Wireless LAN.
Nowadays, crane systems are integrated into production or warehouse management systems and controlled fully automatically. The functionally safe transmission of signals is a basic prerequisite for this.
Functionally safe crane applications (tandem cranes, anti-collision applications, etc.) can be realized easily and reliably within the scope of a PROFIsafe or SafetyBridge solution via Bluetooth. WLAN systems are primarily used in more complex applications such as crane fleets.
The reliable integration of automation components in machine parts that rotate at high speed is a real challenge, particularly in conjunction with PROFINET or EtherNet/IP™ communication. The rotating ring of a pallet wrapping machine moves around the pallet up to 60 times per minute and wraps the pallet in film.
In the case of cable winding machines the speed of rotation can exceed 200 rpm. However, these high-speed movements have no impact on the reliability of the wireless transmission, regardless of which wireless technology is being used. Wear-free wireless communication between the controller in the central control cabinet and the drives and I/O stations on the rotating ring enable long-term reliable operation.
In the private domain, smart devices such as tablets or smartphones are now the norm. They are having an increasing influence on the expectations of industrial users with regard to operation and graphic design. As a result, there is a strong trend towards the use of smartphones or tablets for communication with machines and systems, for operating data acquisition, diagnostics, maintenance, startup or even for programming and operation.
Security also plays an important role here. The industrial wireless system must therefore meet special security requirements. The WLAN 5100 industrial Wireless LAN access point from Phoenix Contact features corresponding functions for safeguarding machines and networks.
Infrastructure systems often have a complex system structure that has developed over decades with a large number of distributed, remote system parts. The communication structure is therefore generally very inhomogeneous and in many cases no longer meets the latest requirements.
An increasing number of measured values and operating notifications such as fill levels, pump output or flow rate, however, need to be recorded in remote system parts and reliably transmitted to the control room. The use of industrial wireless systems solves many of these challenges easily and efficiently.
Systems in Water and Wastewater Treatment often contain stations such as pump and pressure boosting stations or elevated tanks that are located several kilometers away from the central system. Sensor data such as temperature or fill level have to be recorded on site and transmitted to a central location or control room. The data recorded locally can often only be practically or economically transmitted to the control room with the help of a wireless solution in order to cover long distances or impenetrable terrain.
Standard wireless technologies such as Wireless LAN or Bluetooth cannot, however, cover such large distances. The Trusted Wireless 2.0 wireless technology was specially developed for such applications. It enables data and measured values to be transmitted across several kilometers and, thanks to an adjustable data rate, can be flexibly adapted to the specific application. The range can be increased further by using the wireless system as a repeater station.
In order to operate pipeline networks with as little wear as possible, the flow rate and pressure difference must be optimally set. As such, process data is recorded at regular intervals along the pipelines, which must then be transmitted to the remote control system.
A wireless solution is required in order to transmit the measured values to the control room. Long pipelines can be monitored easily with Trusted Wireless 2.0 by installing repeater stations in a line structure.
An increasing amount of measured data needs to be recorded and monitored in sewage treatment plants. One example of this is the sludge level in the sedimentation tanks. A process probe is attached directly to the rotating scraper bridge in order to measure the sludge level. Since the transmission of measured values via collector wire contacts is extremely maintenance-intensive and susceptible to faults, transmission is already taking place via wireless communication in many sewage treatment plants. Depending on requirements and the distance to be covered, a wireless solution based on Bluetooth or Trusted Wireless 2.0 can be beneficial.
Operators of power stations are required to document level and temperature values in the cooling water intake and drainage. To this end, distributed measuring points are located throughout the site. The measured values must be transmitted to a central control system for processing and archiving.
The data is often sent to collection stations in distributed buildings before being forwarded to the control center. Prerequisites for wireless transmission are a distance of several kilometers, ease of expansion, and fail-safe mesh networks. Such applications can be realized easily with Trusted Wireless 2.0.
Energy management is becoming increasingly important and is now a key cost factor, particularly in energy-intensive operations in the steel and chemical industry. Energy costs can be reduced considerably by using an energy management system. In order to control energy consumption in a targeted way, a large number of variables need to be recorded centrally and on site from machines and systems by network-capable energy meters.
Existing systems often do not have the right infrastructure and need to be updated. If the data acquisition points are located in remote or hard-to-access areas, a wireless network must be used. Depending on communication requirements, Wireless LAN or, for large-scale systems with RS-485 communication, Trusted Wireless 2.0, are ideal for this.
A high-performance Ethernet network is the communicative backbone of an industrial system. Not all distributed system parts can be integrated into the network via a cable connection, however. In many cases it is either too expensive or in fact impossible to lay the necessary cabling, as private or inaccessible terrain lies between the stations.
High-performance WLAN radio links can be set up in this case, which can achieve data transmission of up to 300 Mbps. With a line of sight and at the correct height, fast connections can be implemented relatively easily over a distance of up to 1000 m. Status signals or serial data can even be transmitted over several kilometers via a radio link with Trusted Wireless 2.0.
Oil fields involve systems which consist of distributed pumps working independently. These pump stations are often several kilometers apart. There is no network cabling and usually no GSM network. In the past, employees had to travel from pump to pump and read the data on site.
This has resulted in a trend towards the digitization of oil fields (digital oil fields) in order to carry out faster and more economical diagnostics and more efficient monitoring. All measured values and signals transmitted by the stations must be acquired cyclically and displayed in the control room, which is some distance away. Reliable signal transmission is essential here. Since the pump stations do not use highly dynamic processes, speed is not a key consideration here.
The Trusted Wireless 2.0 technology was developed specifically for these industrial challenges and, thanks to repeater functions and self-healing mesh structures, is ideal for data transmission between the various stations and the control room.
In some countries, operators can control the intensity of warning lights in wind turbine generators according to visibility levels. Communication between fire alarm systems in a wind park can also be implemented wirelessly. The Trusted Wireless 2.0 wireless technology guarantees efficient and reliable signal transmission between several wind turbine generators.