Infinite wireless

Control Engineering International: Remote control, wireless instrumentation, wireless retrofits, and wireless power transmission technologies will increase the value of industrial wireless applications.

01/03/2013


Wireless communication for Control EngineeringWireless communication, wireless data transmission, wireless control, and wireless power charging are all inspiring, and industrial wireless applications eventually will release the value of M2M, cloud, and Internet of Things.

SuRui, BYD’s first remote driving car targeted at common people, came into the market Aug. 21, 2012. The biggest selling point of this car is remote parking technology. The driver can use the mobile phone-shaped smart key to drive the car remotely, within the visible range of 10 m. The device has four keys: left, right, up, and down, and you can control the driving direction by pressing these keys, or stop it when you release the keys. The remote driving speed is only 0.7 km/hr, even slower than human walking speed, which makes this feature practical, safe, and humanized.

This innovation could bring good luck to BYD, which has been depressed recently. And it is really a big innovation for a domestic [China] enterprise to use remote control technology commercially. Maybe it will be a new standard for drivers who need to park a car in an ever-more-crowded world. Imagine how embarrassed you will be when you have to park your car in a narrow parking lot manually because your car doesn’t have a remote parking feature, while other people can park their cars more easily.

Beyond parking, I’d like to discuss engineering applications of wireless technologies. When talking about the topic of new applications for automation companies, Steven Toteda, vice president and general manager of the wireless business unit for Cooper Bussman, said the application of wireless technologies in industrial automation will be strategic. He said it is not about a specific wireless technology, it is about all wireless technologies. I cannot agree more. Some cases of industrial wireless applications bring huge value. Experts of wireless technology from the process control unit of Honeywell have seen hotspots of industrial wireless applications based domestic [China] implementations.

Another product is worthy of mention: the WirelessHART adaptor, a joint product development from MacTek and Moore Industries. It can transmit data wirelessly for existing devices using HART protocol. It can upgrade devices based on HART protocol to achieve wireless communications.

Meanwhile, wireless technologies are making steady progress. For example, currently the common IEEE 802.11b/g/n protocol WLAN is based on a 2.4 G frequency band, while future industrial wireless applications have another option: 5 G frequency band for industrial production and M2M (machine to machine communications). It has an advantage in the industrial wireless application area with 23 non-overlapping channels, 20 more than the 2.4 G frequency band. Extra channels can be used to boost signal strength, which means more wireless products can be supported within the same wireless environment.

Wireless power transmission technology is another breakthrough. IMS Research’s study says that the market value of this technology, first used for mobile phone charging, will be up to $4 billion. Currently the biggest obstacle to wider use remains its high relative cost. The current price of a wireless power receiver is $50-$100, while widespread use requires pricing at $1-$2. If the receiver is free, then this wireless application should be used everywhere.

- Andy Zhu is editor, Control Engineering China. This article appeared in an earlier edition of CEC and was edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, for use in Control Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com

Key concepts

Rugged wireless technologies are expanding application, implementations

Wireless power transmission will be more widely applied as costs decrease

Wireless retrofits can use existing knowledge, experience, such as wirelessHART

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Wireless power

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