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(at)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 2013 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...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
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.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

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.