Think Again: More data, better decisions

Wireless data acquisition doesn’t automatically mean you’ll turn data into information to make better decisions, but automated, real-time data gathering beats manual data entry. Wireless can save up to 90% of wired network installation costs.

05/29/2011


Industrial wireless has many benefitsAre you sending people around your plant or facility with clipboards to gather information? Do they enter the data (sometime with errors) into your systems, or do the readings sit around, in binders, generally ignored?

Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE MediaWould it be more efficient to install a few sensors at key locations and transmit information into your control system? Then the control system can use the acquired data to make a decision, engage an actuator, and improve the process (closed-loop control), or give the real-time input to operators so humans can make smarter decisions to improve throughput, quality, regulatory compliance, or a host of other key performance indicators (KPI). Better data can lead to better information and better decision-making, for KPI improvements that can augment the bottom line and your salary or bonus.

In many manufacturing processes and facilities, certain data points are gathered by personnel making readings manually and recording on paper attached to a clipboard. Some data points, and some process measurements, just aren’t gathered regularly because it’s impractical, risky, or too costly to manually measure or transmit data points back to the control system because of the cost of trenching, conduit, or otherwise running power and signal wire to the location.

Technologies for wireless data transmission can overcome concerns about security, reliability, and cost, as Western Refining and Toyota manufacturing applications explain in this issue, with up to 90% capital cost savings compared to a wired installation. And that’s before quantifying the lifecycle benefits of an installation. Return on investment (ROI) for a wireless project is very short, merely by avoiding one personnel injury, one reportable regulatory incident, one line shutdown, or, perhaps, appropriately pricing one order based on real-time cost of production, as opposed to an estimated price resulting in a net loss.

At Toyota, the wireless automation gathers more information from each location, allowing employees to more accurately track levels and prevent an accidental, unlawful release of untreated water. At Western Refining, wireless allows plant personnel to react quickly to changing conditions and gather information they need to optimize processes.

These aren’t isolated examples. Providers of wireless industrial automation are seeing double-digit growth in sales of those product lines.  World shipments of industrial products that are wireless-enabled are expected to grow from an estimated 1.2 million units in 2009 to more than 3 million in 2015, equating to an 18% compound annual growth rate, according to IMS Research.

Industrial customers are thinking again about using wireless data acquisition to make smarter decisions, more quickly. Gain competitive advantage; connect to these benefits wirelessly.

Mark T. Hoske

www.controleng.com/wireless has more wireless applications and tutorials.

Also read:

- Wireless helps with regulatory compliance: Toyota plant monitors detention ponds wirelessly

- Western Refining cuts wiring costs, improves performance; wireless with existing infrastructure

 

 



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
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.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

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

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.