What's needed for wireless control?

Think Again: Wireless control in six easy steps: Technologies can enable wireless control and mobility applications. What are you waiting for?

11/12/2017


If you weren't among the early adopters of wireless control and mobile technology applications, I get it: If something goes wrong, they're calling you, not me. I'm just the person saying wireless control has been done reliably and can be done because enabling technologies have been readily available. 

Wireless control: 6 steps

What do wireless control and mobility applications need?

1. Reliable and secure wireless communication designs connect the wireless portion (or all) of the control loop, depending on the implementation. Reliable signals need to go from sensors to the logic device, from the logic device to the actuator, the actuator can provide feedback, and the measurement device measures again, to optimize the loop. If it's an open loop, a human gets a notification or alarm (perhaps wirelessly) and confirms or enables the next step in the loop. Closed-loop control is fully automated, alarming only if there's a setpoint violation or fault that might not be fixed as part of the automation. Reliable and redundant wireless communications exist, ensuring signal integrity, using standards and/or using proprietary technologies.

2. Wireless hardware can be appropriately and rapidly installed to enable wireless communications for control and mobile monitoring applications. Wireless networks and enabling devices are many, often at a price point that enables applications that wouldn't have been considered previously because of wired communication costs. Batteries last longer in applications without line power.

3. Software can help design, configure, and operate wireless connections. It isn't as difficult as it used to be. Ask someone you trust for a demo.

4. Mobile hardware (tablets, smartphones, industrial-enabled rugged mobile human-machine interfaces) can use appropriately enabled software to provide a view into controls, automation, and instrumentation. The latest software self-optimizes to fit the screen size, so redesigning HMI screens for mobility may not be needed.

5. Connections to higher-level systems (perhaps wirelessly) provide additional, sometimes cloud-enabled intelligent applications for analysis, providing smarter and faster decisions more easily to help decision-makers.

6. Information justifying investments in wireless control and mobility help those involved look forward to rapid returns on investment, resulting in hero status for the advocate and a showcase of reliable wireless capabilities that look like something engineering-minded youth want to be a part of. Or perhaps you'll get a hearty handshake, a pat on the back, and the satisfaction of having time to do the next six things.

Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media. Courtesy: CFE MediaEither way, think again about wireless: Don't automatically specify wires and cable because you don't think wireless is ready for prime time. Contact your automation vendor or an appropriate system integrator for insights.

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

ONLINE extra

Vote now on wireless related products included among the Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Finalists. Wireless and mobility products are among the 2018 Engineers Choice Finalists

Network integration - Wireless

  • I/O NPort IAW5000A-6I/O 3-in-1 wireless serial server, Moxa Americas, www.moxa.com 
  • WI-I/O-2-E-N-GBL industrial wireless modem and I/O, Weidmuller, www.weidmuller.com 

Network integration - Wireless products

 

Software - HMI software (Modern HMI software can readily reconfigure for use by mobile devices.)

 

  • IntegraXor V6 SCADA/HMI with alarm trending and reporting features, Ecava, www.integraxor.com 
  • InduSoft Web Studio 8.1 platform agnostic SCADA/HMI development and runtime software, Schneider Electric Software, www.indusoft.com 
  • VTScada 11.3 HMI/SCADA software, Trihedral Engineering, www.trihedral.com 

Software - Industrial Internet of Things connectivity (Greater information integration and access is among the tenets of the IIoT)

Software - Mobile apps for controls, automation, instrumentation



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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.
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Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
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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.
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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.
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