Mixing networks: Transmit instrumentation data via wireless and Web

01/17/2008


Sometimes it takes more than one technology to get instrumentation data to all the places it needs to go. One package offered recently illustrates this point and suggests ways networking methods can be combined to extend the reach of data. In this new example, MTS Systems’ sensors division has been working with OleumTech Corp . to capture data from field instruments via wireless and then send it to additional users via the Web.

MTS Sensors provides the tank measurements and the OleumTech wireless monitors transmit the data back to the control room, where a Modbus controller with Ethernet output passes the data onto the Web. Individuals in the company who need to know what is in inventory at the tank farm can open a Web page and pull up the latest measurements at anytime.

“The benefits for the customer from this solution are tremendous. The customer saves money on conduit, cable, and has the added convenience of allowing anyone the ability to check tank levels from anywhere,” said Lee Aiken, MTS product marketing manager. “MTS and OleumTech are very excited about the success customers are having with this solution, and we are working together to create additional solutions.”

MTS Sensors uses its Level Plus model MG liquid level transmitter to measure the level in storage tanks. The tank level is transmitted via Modbus to the OleumTech monitor that sends the measurement to the control room where the OleumTech data hub is located. The output from the hub is connected to a fieldbus controller that places the information on the Internet.

The typical application for this combination is where the tank has line power from a local source but does not have communication lines back to the control room. MTS has found numerous locations where the control room is located hundreds of yards away from the tanks and the expense of running conduit the full length has inhibited the use of automatic tank gauging on the tank. However, there is no need for battery-powered gages or radios since power is located throughout the facility.

This approach is suitable for many types of instrumentation and applications. The main concern is providing sufficient security for the information on the Web.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com ,
Control Engineering Daily News desk

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