5 trends in wireless motion control

Robotics can be one of the beneficiaries of reliable wireless communications, according to a discussion with Rob Snyder, Rockwell Automation product manager, at RSTechED in Orlando.

07/01/2014


Industrial Wireless Tutorials – a new Control Engineering blogWireless control of robotics can be achieved by implementing control of an automated guided vehicle (AGV) upon which a robot can ride. Alternatively, with an appropriate safety protocol present, one could implement robot control via mobile device, according to a June 17 Control Engineering interview with Rob Snyder, Rockwell Automation product manager, at RSTechED in Orlando.

Ensuring a reliable connection with low latency and jitter can best be achieved with an industrial access point (AP) and wireless client. The wireless client for machine and skid applications is a very important piece of the connection, Snyder said, as important as having capable APs and often overlooked when planning a wireless implementation.

Wireless control of robotics can be achieved by implementing control of an automated guided vehicle (AGV) upon which a robot can ride. Alternatively, with an appropriate safety protocol present, one could implement robot control via mobile device, accordiWireless robotic connections

Wireless automation can be applied in a wide range of implementations, Snyder said. Some applications could:

1. Communicate wirelessly even for fixed nodes, additional human machine interface (HMI) terminals or connecting an existing “island of automation” for data harvesting, for instance. 

2. Wirelessly track or position a robot, relaying positional information from the moving unit to the wayside (fixed) network.

3. Send wireless alerts about robot status to mobile tablets, smartphones, or smart watch-like interfaces, which can function like a smarter pager.

4. Make robots mobile on AGVs to serve multiple workstations or move where needed, part of an interesting efficiency trend in some applications where the machine is more mobile and parts more fixed. (Less refixuring in parts production can save significant time, increasing manufacturing efficiency.)

5. Communicate signals to robot end effector.

While wireless could be used for transmitting signals to robotic tools (end effectors), Allen-Bradley EtherNet/IP modules with QuickConnect reduced wired connection speed to less than 360 ms, decreasing robotic downtime between tool changes and reducing maintenance costs, Snyder said.

Wired and wireless

Even with industrial wireless communications, though, wired communications are needed at some point in the system and should be taken into consideration, Snyder noted. Rockwell Automation offers the Stratix 5100 Wireless Access Point/Work Group Bridge uses IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless, which supports Ethernet. EtherNet/IP Ethernet protocol can be used for the wired and wireless communications. EtherNet/IP extensions, CIP Motion and CIP Sync from ODVA CIP (common industrial protocol) family, are "only very cautiously (limited) recommended" for use over a wireless connection; see "Wireless Design Considerations for Industrial Applications" below for more detailed recommendations, Snyder said. 

While CIP Motion is not recommended for use over wireless, wireless control of "motion" is certainly possible. "Depending on application performance requirements," Snyder said, "one could employ the use of Produce/Consume Virtual Axis techniques over wireless."

Check the skillset

For those seeking to only save on wire installation costs, wireless may not be the best choice, Snyder noted, because wireless requires a different skill set and different level of commitment than wired networking. However, wireless normally can offer much more value than just replacing the wire by enabling greater efficiencies, related to a more mobile and informed workforce (uptime and troubleshooting), cloud usages, and big data analysis. (See related article: Mobility apps should provide self-direction, portability, freedom.)

With wireless installation, Snyder recommended following best practices, such as performing a site survey to determine environmental conditions (microwaves, metal infrastructure, and moving assets), the best AP locations, and optimal frequency and channel selection. Working with, rather than against, the IT department will result in a better installation.

"In most cases, IT will have established wireless media within the factory zone. A collaborative relationship between IT and operations / automation is key to success. Personalities may precede the performance of protocol packets," Snyder added; "wireless is truly a shared media."

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

Control Engineering has dedicated pages for industrial wireless and for robotics

Rockwell Automation offers PDFs on related wireless resources:

- Wireless Design document from Rockwell Automation literature library 

Stratix 5100 Wireless Access Point/Work Group Bridge Product Profile 



Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

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

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

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

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
October 2018
HMI hardware evolution, Data acquisition strategies, Matching motors and drives, Machine vision advice
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
SIDB

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

October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me