New products: Supporting wireless communications at every level
New wireless products abound, from chips with embedded IP connectivity, to sensors and receivers, to plantwide network services. Recent offerings include products from Omega Engineering, ConnectOne, and Invensys Process systems in partnership with Motorola. See photo.
Stamford, CT, San Jose, CA , Plano, TX – Interest in wireless technology is way up in industrial settings, and wireless device makers are responding. Products and services at every level of the communications infrastructure are being introduced—from chips with embedded IP connectivity, to sensors and receivers, and on to plantwide network services. The offerings gathered here are from Omega Engineering, ConnectOne, and Invensys Process systems in partnership with Motorola. Also see National Instruments' new wireless offerings .
Omega Engineering has introduced a new series of wireless DIN-rail monitoring and control devices compatible with its wireless sensors, including the UWTC, UWRTD, and z Series.
Omega Engineering wireless DIN-rail monitoring and control devices
The control devices can monitor up to eight wireless sensors each. Wireless inputs include thermocouple, RTD, temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure. The wiDR monitor-controller comes standard with a choice of either two Form C relays or two solid state relays that can be used for control functions or alarms. Monitoring can be done locally or through an embedded Ethernet or Internet connection without additional software other than a Web browser.
On the embedded systems side , a miniature Internet protocol (IP) controller from Connect Once addresses mobile machine-to-machine communications. The company’s iChip CO2144 provides IP connectivity and security in a small form factor. The miniature package supports wireless LAN and cellular standards for applications such as automotive, remote monitoring, and medical devices where secure, robust connectivity is essential. Multiple power-save modes also increase battery life.
The CO21244 provides a suite of Internet protocols and applications, enabling developers to connect embedded devices to any kind of IP network, wired or wireless. Since it works as a coprocessor, developers do not need to write code that controls connectivity or application security.
The logical interface between the host application and CO2144 is Connect One’s AT+i Protocol, a text-based API that enables fast implementation of Internet networking and security protocols. Embedded developers wanting to add a Web user interface may use CO2144’s embedded HTTP/HTTPS Web server. The chip supports seamless WLAN roaming, multiple SSID, and WPA2-Enterprise authentication commonly required in large-scale WLAN deployments. It also supports dial-up and LAN-wired networks, as well as 802.11b/g WLAN.
Invensys Process Systems (IPS) has become part of Motorola 's PartnerSelect Program and will offer Motorola's Enterprise Mobility solutions, plus wireless broadband and other technologies, within its industrial wireless solutions portfolio. Through the portfolio of services, IPS helps process manufacturers maximize return on assets. With the partnership, it augments its service offerings by providing Motorola mobile and wireless technologies such as:
Enterprise WLAN portfolio including WiFi access points with hazardous location (Haz-Loc) Class 1, Div 2 and ATEX Zone 2 certification, WLAN switches and wireless intrusion protection system (WIPS);
Motorola’s RF Management Suite for network management.
"Any client application requiring remote access from a handheld device will benefit from Motorola's proven technology, and as a certified Motorola partner, we are now capable of building complete, customizable, and scalable solutions that provide real-time visibility into the entire enterprise," said Hesh Kagan, managing consultant for IPS wireless programs.
According to ARC Advisory Group senior analyst Harry Forbes, wireless for process manufacturing will become a more-than-$1 billion business during the next five years, driven by the increasing use of global standards and by partnerships like the one between IPS and Motorola. "These two companies are recognized for their process management expertise and provide a vast range of wireless technologies," said Forbes. "If they can execute their partnership well, it paves the road to a secure wireless enterprise for process manufacturers."
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.