Research: Wireless use in industry

What wireless technologies are being used for industrial applications? IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, and wireless are widely used. More information is being gathered.

03/20/2013


Figure shows wireless networks used for industrial applications. For 2013, information is being gathered on individual protocols. Courtesy: IMS Research (Part of IHS Inc.)Wireless in industrial applications has been around for a number of years. Its use has mainly been in areas where a traditional networking solution of industrial Ethernet or fieldbus has not been feasible, either through problems with distance, cost, or lack of existing infrastructure. Wireless technology has had to overcome a number of barriers in the past: A perceived lack of reliability, its suitability for control, and its ability to transmit in a busy environment have all hindered its adoption. However, as the technology has matured, user acceptance has grown.

Wireless communications used in factory and process automation are currently driven by three main technologies. In 2011, IHS estimated that almost one quarter of all new wireless connections made were made by wireless LAN. This can be in the form of 802.11a, b, g, and n. Modes a, b, and g are more popular, but n mode is beginning to make headway as it moves from the consumer market into the industrial space. Common use of multiple antennae means it has built-in redundancy should a single antenna be damaged or fail.

Bluetooth is also widely used within industry and is estimated to account for over one-fifth of total new wireless connections in 2011. Classic Bluetooth is relatively low bandwidth, but the newer Bluetooth high-speed variant is designed to improve this. Bluetooth can be suitable for battery-powered solutions, although Bluetooth Low Energy has been designed specifically with this in mind.

Cellular technology has been in used in wireless communication for some time now and is estimated to make up 15% of new connections. It is very suitable for long-distance transmission due to the existing cellular infrastructure in remote locations. This makes it very suitable for SCADA systems.

Many proprietary and “other” solutions exist in the wireless space. These include unlicensed bands such as the sub-GHz range as well as long haul communications. These are popular in the process industry and, like most wireless solutions, do not require any existing network infrastructure. The lower cost of installation can make them an appealing prospect to those looking to install wireless. WirelessHART and ISA100.11a have, until recently, been working toward a single standard. This, however, has not been successful and is unlikely to occur in the near future. The lack of convergence means these two technologies will continue to vie for new connections in the industrial space.

- Tom Moore, B.Sc, is analyst for industrial automation, IMS Research (Part of IHS Inc.). Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

IMS Research (IHS) July 2013 wireless networking report link 

www.imsresearch.com 

www.ihs.com  



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
World-class maintenance: The three keys to success - Deploy people, process and technology; 2016 Lubrication Guide; Why hydraulic systems get hot
Flexible offshore fire protection; Big Data's impact on operations; Bridging the skills gap; Identifying security risks
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me