WLAN firmware gets update
Belden’s Hilcos 8.50 firmware integrates Hirschmann Access Points and Clients into Profinet and Ethernet/IP Networks without the need for additional management software, the company said.
Belden Hilcos 8.50 is an updated version of its established WLAN firmware. New to this firmware version is the ability to integrate Hirschmann Access Points and Clients into Siemens’ Step 7 (Profinet) and Rockwell’s RSLogix 5000 (EtherNet/IP) automation software without requiring additional management software, thus allowing flexible administration, Belden said. All devices from the Hirschmann BAT54 and BAT300 WLAN Series delivered in the future will have Hilcos 8.50 firmware installed as standard. To enable customers to update older access points and clients, the firmware is also available for download free at: www.e-catalog.beldensolutions.com.
Use of protocol stacks for Profinet I/O and the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) from EtherNet/IP makes it possible to visualize access points via the network controllers. In that way, WLAN devices can be easily configured and securely monitored, Belden said, and the firmware provides a number of WLAN-specific functions available via the controllers. These include the signal strength and data rate of the wireless connection. It is also possible to define threshold values and link these to alarms.
WLAN is used widely in industrial environments. As Sven Burkard, Belden’s product manager for networking and connectivity products, said, "Profinet and EtherNet/IP are currently used in around 30 percent of all automation systems worldwide. This new firmware means WLAN networks can now easily be used with such systems, opening up completely new perspectives in the automobile industry, or in sectors such as oil and gas."
Belden describes itself as a global provider in signal transmission solutions for mission-critical applications.
See also www.controleng.com/networks.
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.