AS-Interface is a low-level I/O solution we have talked about quite a bit in this blog; just use the navigation at the right to see all the topics we have covered in the last year or so. By now our readers probably know that it is an open technology supported by 300 vendors, and over 24 million field modules have been installed. As impressive as that may be, users care more about where it can be used and why they should consider it.
Initially, AS-Interface was typically used in discrete factory automation applications. And to this date, this is where most of the applications are. Looking at our customers, I have to guess that probably 75% to 85% of all applications use AS-Interface to bring the sensor to the PLC and control motors, lights, and other kinds of actuators. This number is certainly not the result of a strict analysis, but it probably isn't far off either.
Right around the year 2000, AS-Interface Safety at Work was introduced, the first fully certified safety technology allowing nonsafe and safe devices to be connected to a single network. It can be argued that this started a revolution in factory automation mainly because it simplified safety installations to a degree that was just not possible using any other approach. Using Safety at Work, it is not uncommon to reduce the number of wires and electrical connections by 90%. This is significant, because it speeds up design, implementation, startup, and troubleshooting.
Controlling analog devices is another area where users can benefit significantly from AS-Interface. And this is where pharmaceutical manufacturing comes into play. While AS-Interface is frequently used in chemical plants making anything from fuels to plastic precursors, the pharmaceutical processing industry can also reap the benefits of this technology. Pharma manufacturing is all about controlling flow, mixtures, temperatures, and pressures that influence the quality and yield of the final product.
Using the single two-conductor cable, up to 124 analog I/O points can be conveniently routed back to the PLC or DCS. AS-Interface can provide significant installation simplification, faster startup and better troubleshooting, and ultimately a better end product.
Take a look at our recently published article: Benefit From Better Pharmaceutical Processing Control. By offering the ability to improve control processes, AS-Interface is more than just an automation solution; it contributes to increasing the speed and efficiency as well as improving the consistency of pharmaceutical products.
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