K-Tek adds wireless capability to process sensor lines

Wireless system uses ISM band and includes embedded site survey tool to ensure optimal performance.
By Peter Welander July 14, 2009

K-Tek, a manufacturer of instrumentation for level, pressure, and temperature measurement, has announced its DX80 Wireless Transmitter and Receiver for transmitting data between process sensors and I/O for DCS or other control systems.

The DX80 includes two devices: a node (transmitter) that resides in the field and interfaces to the measurement device, and a gateway (receiver) that resides in the main control panel and interfaces to a PC or PLC. Each node accepts up to two analog and two discrete switch inputs. Each gateway accepts up to 55 nodes.

K-Tek says the DX80 system communicates via a frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) radio system that ensures the message is delivered and is secure. By hopping from channel to channel, multiple radio networks can use the same frequency range without creating interference. Wireless communication can be established between any 4-20 mA devices.

"Wiring hard-to-reach locations is a pervasive problem in manufacturing," says Kevin Hambrice, director of marketing and customer service at K-Tek. "The DX80 wireless system is mobile, flexible, and scalable. It reliably transmits the status of all I/O points and continuously monitors the health of each and every sensor on the network. It then delivers a variety of field measurements across the plant, to PCs, PLCs, or DCSs."

The DX80 is available in two different models: the 900 MHz frequency (USA, Canada, and Australia) or the 2.4 GHz (rest of world) ISM (instrumentation, scientific, and medical) band. It penetrates walls and objects, and bends around obstacles better than higher frequencies. The signal range is three miles, line of sight.

The gateway can output two digital and two analog signals and includes a Modbus RTU for connection to higher level control systems. The devices include an embedded site survey and signal quality tool to ensure optimal performance. This function analyzes the strength of the radio signal between the gateway and a specified node. The transmitter and receiver are each housed in IEC IP67, NEMA 6 rated enclosures, and operate using 10-30 V dc input power.

-Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com,
Control Engineering Process Instrumentation & Sensors Monthly
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