Networking: Bringing wireless in the back door

By Control Engineering Staff August 1, 2007

If you’ve been trying to find a way to introduce wireless infrastructure to your plant, here are some real life examples of how you can do it. In these two cases, companies faced with a large and expensive wiring projects were able to justify setting up wireless infrastructure as a lower cost solution while providing a path to bring in the next wireless project at a very low cost. Maybe you can do the same at your company.

Here’s how it works: The next time you are faced with an expensive wiring project, consider if a wireless system can do the same thing. In two recent examples provided by Honeywell Process Solutions Apprion / Invensys , companies were looking at very expensive safety related installations.

In Honeywell’s example a chemical company was looking for a way to fulfill an OSHA regulation by installing alarms to notify the control room any time someone pulls a safety shower. The company was contemplating adding instrument wiring to 24 showers around the plant at a cost well in excess of $1 million. It did the job using Honeywell’s OneWireless for less than a quarter of that, while also providing wireless infrastructure that can support additional instrumentation and WiFi access. The next projects will be very inexpensive.

In the Apprion / Invensys example , a power plant needed to upgrade in-plant communications and PA capabilities. Again, the wired approach was well over $1 million, but wireless was a fraction of that. Now the infrastructure is in place for the next project.

The common element here is that wireless can be applied in ways that you may not consider right out of the gate. But if implemented with a little creativity, the benefits can be bigger than you anticipated.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, , Control Engineering Weekly News