Showing posts with label wireless instrumentation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wireless instrumentation. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Industrial Automation and the Implementation of Wireless Technology

The use of wireless technology in industrial automation systems offers a number of potential benefits, from the obvious cost reduction brought about by the elimination of wiring to the availability of better plant information, improved productivity and better asset management.

However, its practical implementation faces a number of challenges: not least the present lack of a universally agreed standard. This article looks at some of these challenges and presents the approach being taken by Yokogawa.

Download Your Copy Of "Wireless Technology In Industrial Automation" here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Wireless Instrumentation Promises to Improve Plant Efficiency, Mitigate Risk, and Increase Productivity

Yokogawa Wireless pressure transmitter
Wireless pressure
transmitter (Yokogawa)
Industrial companies are under great pressure to improve safety, reliability, and efficiency. Plant managers are faced with maintaining profits in face of greater competition and rising costs. Lost production, escalating energy costs, unexpected maintenance problems, and heightened safety concerns are always on the horizon. Situations such as unplanned shutdowns and outages due to equipment failure can be devastating to plant performance. Keeping personnel safe in dangerous or hazardous areas requires strict and deliberate attention to procedure. To address these concerns (reduce risk, save money, improve performance) higher reliability, and feature rich process technologies must continually evolve. Wireless instrumentation is one such technology. These new products deliver a promise to improve plant efficiency, mitigate risk, and increase productivity.

Yokogawa wireless gateway
Wireless gateway
(Yokogawa)
Today's wireless instruments are available for monitoring virtually any process control variable including flow, pressure, level, temperature, pH, Dissolved Oxygen, etc..., or to monitor atmospheres for unsafe levels of toxic or combustible gases. These devices reliably transmit critical control and safety data back to central monitoring systems without the need for human supervision.

The argument for wireless instrumentation is very compelling when you consider installation convenience and cost savings.  Some cost savings estimates run as high as 70%  by eliminating wires and cables, as opposed to the cost when using cables for the same application. And most remarkably, wireless instruments provide additional safety and compliance benefits by keeping maintenance personnel out of dangerous or hazardous areas.

Wireless, portable gas detection
Wireless, portable gas detection
(Drager X-zone 5500)
In the process control industry, there are many reasons to adopt wireless instrumentation, but the acceptance by companies has been slow.  Why is this?  The fiscal argument for the industry to adopt wireless instrumentation networks is convincing as wireless is one of the more promising cost cutting technologies.

Impediments to Wireless
  • Reliability and Familiarity - Wireless must provide the same reliability (real and perceived) as traditional wired units, and engineers, operators, and maintenance staff must become just as comfortable with wireless as they are with wires and cables.
  • Working Within the Existing Infrastructure - Sometimes it doesn't make sense to build or relocate infrastructure or equipment just to create a reliable wireless link.  
  • Integration with Existing Communications - Concern over the impact on engineers, operators, and maintenance because of their work with the other, existing, field communications systems.

Drager wireless gateway
Drager wireless gateway
Industries will always be faced with cost cutting. A plant manager's job is continuous process improvement. There is always a need for better control solutions, and wireless instruments are promising. As the adoption of wireless instrumentation accelerate, concerns about reliability, user comfort,  infrastructure, and integration will subside. Industry-wide acceptance will be driven by deployment and maintenance savings, improved safety and easier governmental compliance.