Machine Safety: Wireless and cableless are similar but different

Know the differences, when considering machine safety, between wireless and cableless. As an analogy, is your hand held smart phone, with all its Internet, social media, photograph and movie capabilities, wireless or cableless?

06/12/2014


Those involved with machine safety should know the distinctions between wireless and cableless. As an analogy, is your hand held smart phone, with all its Internet, social media, photograph and movie capabilities, wireless or cableless?

Wireless isn't the same as cableless.In the realm of machine safety, wireless communication and control has advanced significantly over the past few years. It seems just yesterday that an individual with a hand held operator control panel could walk around a robot or a section of a machine to program or modify settings. This hand held operator control panel could send and receive communication and control signals wirelessly but was connected to the robot or machine with a defined length of cable. This cable supplied electrical power to the hand held operator panel and certain actuators on the operator panel were hard wired back to the main control system. These were typically actuators for functions like start, stop or emergency stop. Therefore, this operator panel transmitted and received defined communication and control signals wirelessly, but it was not a cableless operator panel.

Now, fast forward to today. Since the development of safety certified control and communication devices, we now have safety certified wireless capability. Therefore, the control signals that previously required hard wiring via cabling can now be accomplished wirelessly along with the general communication and control. This then only leaves only one requirement for a defined cable and that is to provide electrical power to the hand held operator panel. The developments of battery power and low voltage technology combine to enable a cableless operator panel thereby eliminating the need for any hard connection to robots or machinery. Now the word cableless has meaning as relates to machine control.

Hard wired power cables or not?

So, wireless and cableless are similar because both hand held operator panels are capable of transmitting and receiving signals via wireless technology. They differ because wireless still requires hard wiring for electrical power and this limits its ability to be hand carried beyond the length of its defined cable. Cableless hand held operator panels are no different than your smart phone or Apple iPhone. Cableless operator panels can be carried anywhere. This, of course, creates a whole host of new issues that robot and machine safety standards are addressing.

Do you have machine safety questions related to cableless versus wireless? Do you use a wireless interface integrated with machine safety? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

Related articles:

Machine Safety: Cableless versus wireless

Cableless (wireless) operator panel applications

How to choose wireless technology for industrial applications

Machine safeguarding solutions, a case study by ARC

Contact: www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety.” 

Also see the new Industrial Wireless Tutorials blog from Control Engineering.



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Intelligent, efficient PLC programming: Cost-saving programming languages are available now; Automation system upgrades; Help from the cloud; Improving flow control; System integration tips
Smarter machines require smarter systems; Fixing PID, part 3; Process safety; Hardware and software integration; Legalities: Integrated lean project delivery
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again