At a plant or job site, Remote I/O installation processes happen in many phases. At times, certain equipment and bus communication lines may not be available from the early stages that would allow a user to configure and set up some of the controllers or Remote I/O modules.
It’s no secret that in today’s business world, we must be willing to use the latest technology if we want to maximize our growth potential and stay ahead of the competition. One such promising technology is virtualization.
You may have heard the term before, but you may not know what exactly virtualization is or the benefits it provides. And that’s why I am going to share a brief overview of this innovative technology that we here at Pepperl+Fuchs believe in.
Virtualization gives you the ability to store all of your software and data on a single server outside of a hazardous area even when this server is connected to a thin client or group of thin clients that can be located inside a hazardous area. If a thin client in the hazardous area is damaged, your information is still secure and you can easily replace the damaged thin client. The illustration below shows a virtualized hardware system in which one thin client is outside the network, two thin clients are in good working condition inside the network, and another thin client is damaged with no adverse effect on the information it has gathered.
WirelessHART antennas, integrating WirelessHART equipment from other manufacturers...
Are you ready to learn more about WirelessHART? This is our third installment of Ask an Expert, and our first episode to focus on WirelessHART. Basically, we sit down with a product expert and answer questions from customers like you.
The IP address is a critical part of the network for industrial Ethernet devices
This may sound ridiculous. Most of us have experience with commercial Ethernet devices such as PCs, DSL modems, network printers, etc. All of these devices set their IP addresses automatically using a network DHCP server. The PC or printer name is all that is important.
When designing FOUNDATION™ fieldbus or PROFIBUS PA networks, it is extremely important to make sure that the devices on those networks have enough power to start up properly and operate normally.
The fieldbus physical layer specification IEC 61158-1 defines the min/max voltage levels for FOUNDATION fieldbus and PROFIBUS PA. The minimum voltage required for any fieldbus device is 9 V and the maximum voltage allowed on a fieldbus network is 32 V.
To calculate the voltage drop along a fieldbus cable, you must know the number of connected instruments and their current consumption, as well as the resistance of the cable, cable length, and power supply voltage. Typical fieldbus devices consume 15 mA to 20 mA. The exact number can be found on instrument data sheets. A standard “type A” fieldbus cable has a typical resistance of 44 Ohm/Km and a typical fieldbus power supply supplies 30 V.
Knowing the total current draw, supply voltage, cable resistance, and cable distance of a segment, and applying Ohm’s law, allows you to deliver maximum distance and/or voltage drop at a certain distance.
To simplify these calculations, companies like Pepperl+Fuchs have created free-of-charge segment design tools like Segment Checker.
Industrial vision systems are used to solve a variety of applications in various manufacturing sectors.
Using RSLogix 5000 software from Rockwell Automation
Allen-Bradley is one of the most popular PLC makers in the United States. And I think manufacturers love them because the software is user friendly and the instructions are well described and easy to understand. Even a novice programmer can get up to speed without memorizing a bunch of commands. There's no need to put special characters like K, or d, or M in front of numbers, and no need to remember what type of bracket has to be used with this instruction.
Pepperl+Fuchs has no vested interest in promoting Allen-Bradley products, but rather promotes hardware that connects to Allen-Bradley PLCs. So over the years, we have had to become experts in the RSLogix programming software. I've found that if I can’t tell my customers how to interface my hardware with their PLC they don’t want to buy. And that makes sense.
Beginning with RSLogix 5000 V16, Rockwell Automation included add-on instructions that greatly simplify programming and configuration. Normally instructions like COPY, MOVE, ADD, etc. are already created for you. But what if you could make your own? That is exactly what they now allow you to do. These instructions perform a very complex set of operations in one single rung of ladder logic.
Of course there are some limitations—I found that you can’t use pointers to I/O as an input/output parameter; you have to pass an entire array to the add-on instruction instead. But once you figure out the limitations and the tricks, the programming becomes easy.
You don’t need to use these instructions, of course. You could spend your time writing and rewriting your own ladder logic to interface with all the functions of our AS-Interface gateway or RFID systems. You could spend hours on the phone with me while I wade through a thousand rungs of ladder logic, spread out over 30 routines, trying to debug your code—and what a daunting task it can be to debug someone else's code. Or you could take advantage of the new add-on instruction we created for our RFID systems, AS-Interface gateways, encoders, etc. With it, you only need to program it once and there is no limit to the kinds of devices you can incorporate into these instructions.
These add-on instructions save my customers time because they don’t have to write the code, and they save me time because I don’t have to debug it. And if I do need to help my customers with the programming, then it is much easier for me because I wrote the code.
Take a look at this video where I use my add-on instructions to interface with our AS-Interface gateways: