High-speed wireless control and monitoring for carts

At a Johnson Controls automotive supply plant, industrial wireless communications prevent wire breaks and decrease downtime by 50% in a mobile cart application.


ProSoft Technology RadioLinx 802.11n Industrial Hotspot series provides enterprise-class technology, optimized for rugged industrial performance and easy deployment in the field. These 802.11n Hotspots use multiple-input/multiple-output (MIMO) technologyJohnson Controls, an automotive industry supplier, is preventing breaks in wired communications by eliminating wires and installing industrial wireless technology for monitoring and controls application resulting in half the downtime for that application.

When most people hop into their new car for the first time, the first thing they do is adjust the position of the driver’s seat. Moving it forward or backward, they either automatically or manually adjust the seat by pushing a button or two, or pulling levers, to get it into a comfortable position. Many of those seats were manufactured by Johnson Controls in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

In Tlaxcala, Mexico, 43 carts go through what’s known as a urethane process as they move around a production carousel. Johnson Controls had difficulties with the wired communication system, because the wires were starting to break, and when a wire broke, production was hindered until the wire was fixed. This resulted in unexpected downtime. Johnson Controls wanted to improve the system and chose industrial wireless communications.

Real-time requirements

Johnson Controls had four requirements of the new system, including having capability for monitoring and controlling the process in real time; obtaining seamless and robust communication between carts and system monitoring; and having the ability to bring data to a PC in the field office and to control the robot permission to run urethane injection based on information transmitted via radios.

Johnson Controls’ system integrator and distributor chose fast wireless radios. Twenty-three out of 42 carts I/O physically connected to an industrial wireless radio with a master connected to controller platform. The radios can transfer data at a high rate of speed up to 300 Mbps.

The technology was “the best option for wireless communication based on the testing results and presale tech support provided on-site,” explained Adrian Torres, Johnson Controls project leader. Adepi, the systems integrator, and Risoul y Cia, the distributor, worked with engineers from the wireless provider to make the project successful and get past a hurdle involving the data transfer rate and streamline installation.

“It took only a couple of days to have it completely optimized,” Hugo said.

Adepi Engineer Joaquin Ortiz said there have been several benefits, including elimination of wiring and not having the master PLC inside the production carousel.

Half the downtime

“Downtime has decreased considerably with the wireless communication, approximately 50%,” Ortiz said.

Speed is now optimized, and broken communication wires are becoming a thing of the past at the Johnson Controls plant. With that, so is the downtime that occurred as a result. Data is transferred at a high rate of speed between each of the carts and the controller platform.

The company plans to install wireless on the remainder of its carts later this year. With the successful implementation of the radios, Johnson Controls is also looking at installing a similar solution at its U.S. plant.

- Victor Garcia is marketing writer with ProSoft Technology; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.


See article below: Products used in high-speed wireless control and monitoring for carts.



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