Outstanding industrial wireless

From sensor networks to long-haul wireless, industrial wireless technologies bring outstanding savings to industrial automation and process control applications.

06/30/2012


Control Engineering June 2012 cover story

Help follows on when and where wireless networks should be used instead of wired networks. Wireless can be up to 10 times less expensive than cable, with more flexibility, mobile benefits, and reduced maintenance and troubleshooting.

Do you have a cool, useful, fast return-on-investment (ROI) wireless application story to tell? http://controleng.com/contribute

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com. 

Note: In the Control Engineering North American print and digital edition cover story for June 2012 (pp. 28-36), the following articles were summarized. The full versions are linked below. Click into each link to read more and see more photos, graphics, and details.

Application: Wireless monitoring, asset protection

Wireless implementation: The PEMEX Tula Refinery increased efficiency and is protecting critical cooling towers assets with wireless monitoring and analysis of process and vibration sensor data. Wirelessly transmitted information will help predictive maintenance efforts, and 20 hours per week of manual data collection time can be used more productively, according to Ricardo Velázquez Espinosa, industrial networking solutions manager for Mexico and California, at Belden Inc., and Rafael Montandon Spinoso, project manager at Representaciones y Montajes S.A. de C.V. (RYMSA), a system integrator located in Mexico City. 

Application: Mobile HMI access

Wireless implementation: A wireless local area network covers a 3.1-mile span for a California water system, taking information from a mountaintop plant into town, according to David Burrell, wireless product specialist, Phoenix Contact. 

6 overlooked applications for wireless

Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving make Wi-Fi increasingly useful for industrial applications, said Mike Fahrion, data communications expert and director of product management, B&B Electronics. Wi-Fi bandwidth and reliability have increased dramatically, and implementation costs have dropped, Fahrion said. He pointed to six overlooked locations for industrial wireless communications.

Application: Steam trap monitoring, wirelessly

Wireless implementation: Susan Lang, project manager, Maverick Technologies, said a wireless steam trap monitoring project recently answered two major questions: 1) Given the amount of on-site metal and line-of-sight obstructions, would wireless work? 2) Could the wireless devices be integrated into the existing control system?

Where to use wireless

“Installation of wirelessly connected assets is up to 10 times cheaper than the wired alterative and offers much faster start-ups and accelerated profits,” said Brent E. McAdams, director, customer advocacy, FreeWave Technologies Inc. “Engineering costs are dramatically reduced as extensive surveys and planning are no longer required to route wire back to junction boxes or control rooms. The reduced costs in wiring engineering, installation, and maintenance combined with the increased data gathering flexibility is the primary driver for wireless migration.”

Physical demands may demand industrial wireless

Even when a wireless solution may not be the most cost-effective approach, it may be necessary because of physical demands, explained Mark Lochhaas, product sales manager, Advantech. 

Easier wireless troubleshooting

Wireless advantages include less downtime compared to troubleshooting and repairing an industrial wired network, said Todd Hanson, director of wireless solutions, Honeywell Sensing and Control. “A busy automotive factory can lose a car for every two minutes the line is stopped for repair. Every minute of downtime can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Troubleshooting a wireless network is much easier and quicker than tracking down a shorted or defective cable connection,” Hanson said.

When to go wireless

Manufacturers should consider using wireless when it provides a cost-efficient, reliable alternative to other solutions, said Bob Gardner, senior product manager, Banner Engineering. 

Energy-harvesting sensor network

A basic energy-harvesting wireless sensor consists of the following blocks (see diagram), according to Reghu Rajan, technical marketing, Microsemi Corporation, communications and medical products group (CMPG).

Sensor-actuator technologies

Different wireless technologies serve different industrial wireless networking applications, noted Carl Henning, deputy director, PI North America, Profibus and Profinet, in North America (formerly PTO).  

ONLINE

See more Control Engineering industrial wireless coverage.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.