Wireless technology tips from Control Engineering wireless webcast


Wireless application questions

What radio technology was used for the wireless vibration applications mentioned? Are transceivers being used versus strictly transmitters from end devices?

With vibration testing, I have used both 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz technologies. ISA and HART standards use 2.4 GHz.

On the transceiver question, all the radios in a network are transceivers. They operate in a poll response fashion in their configuration, and when they do not, they give the proper response. So they are asked a question (receiver) and then sent their message (transmitter). Devices that act as nodes receive and transmit.

What is FEL?

FEL stands for front end loading.

When engineering a project (past proof of concept), FEL determines project details before starting the project itself. FEL balances risk over the cost of the project. If the cost is too high, you cannot implement unless the risks are resolved. Wireless can help mitigate risk.

Can wireless technology be applied to ESD procedure?

I am assuming that you are talking about static discharge from items located in the atmosphere. Or maybe asking if wireless devices shed static outputs? Hopefully one of these will answer your question:

  • Most of these units are intrinsically safe, which means they are incapable of holding enough energy to produce a spark.
  • The RF output is so significantly low that I have used more than 700 of these in a data center in Atlanta with absolutely no issues, and they have been there 10 years to date.
  • I have installed 70 of these transmitters in a contained area in a nuclear facility. In testing, prior to installation, we found that they succumb to potential radiation failure after approximately 4 years. So the client put them on a 2-year replacement cycle.
  • I have installed them in a refinery in California because the traditional wired sensors used were failing due to ambient static discharge and lightening issues.

Emergency shutdown

The ESD I meant stands for emergency shutdown. Normally we do this function with wired technology (no software routines).

I agree. I do not expect this technology to ever be accepted for ESD in my lifetime. That is too critical for wireless.

[Editor’s note: Separately, Control Engineering machine safety blog has raised questions about wireless safety-related applications. See “Machine safety: Can hand-held devices play a role?”  and “Machine safety and wireless devices.”]

What technologies are used in various markets?

Many wireless and sensor technologies serve different purposes.

Wi-Fi most certainly has the largest exposure. On the sensor technology there are tens to hundreds of thousands in each category. Is there one dominant wireless standard? The answer is: not yet.

Related Control Engineering articles:

Industrial wireless market booming, but still underutilized

Research: Wireless use in industry

See additional industrial wireless Q&A and more links to additional wireless information, next page.

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