Editor’s Note: This article was created with expertise from Mike Miclot, our vice president of marketing for industrial IT solutions.
Ten years ago, buying a glossy magazine and reading it was a self-indulgent treat that I allowed myself from time to time. Today, with a much lower per magazine cost, I read a wide variety of magazines on my iPad. In particular, I have gone back to National Geographic. Its digital cost is affordable, its photos and videos are spectacular, and I don’t have to make agonizing decisions about storing or recycling a great-looking document.
Over the last decade, you have likely implemented an industrial wireless application and decided afterwards that it really was not worth the cost and drawbacks that came with it. Like my old, dusty hard copy National Geographic, industrial wireless solutions may be filed in the “don’t suit me” compartment of your brain.
I would like to urge you to dust off your thinking and consider how advancements in reliability, performance, security and ease-of-use have changed the industrial wireless game. In particular, if you deal with moving equipment or transportation systems, industrial wireless applications could solve some of your challenges.
Today, I will look at three applications for moving people or goods, and explain how they save money and make data collection and reporting easier. I will also explain how some of the earlier issues with industrial wireless have been addressed with today’s technology.
The bus system in Nantes, France, uses industrial wireless for operator,
customer and load applications.
The bus system in Nantes, France, has implemented an industrial wireless network to embed and communicate with three systems in each bus:
A Wi-Fi network is used to unload and reload the information of each bus and also to maintain the bus’ applications.
This implementation required high security, which was achieved using equipment compliant with today’s standard IEEE 802.11N wireless LAN technology. The encryption provided is exceptional, particularly considering that many industrial Ethernet protocols are unencrypted when travelling over a wire.
In a different bus system application, this time for the city of Luxembourg, an industrial wireless network was installed for automatic reporting and retrieval of trip data, including ticket and traffic information. Hand carrying of data by drivers was replaced by automation transmission via WLAN, reducing costs and improving accuracy.
In addition, video surveillance files are now transferred from the bus to the central station and thereby improving safety for the bus drivers.
Simplified industrial wireless network design for the city of Luxembourg is shown above.
(Click here for larger image)
The Port of Antwerp, in Belgium, is one of the largest sea ports in Europe, providing a more central transportation location than many of the North European sea ports. As a consequence, its terminal handles a high volume of shipping containers involving approximately 3,000 movements per day, 365 days a year.
To track container movements, the terminal uses a WLAN network with two VLANs spread over two frequency bands – 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz) and 5 GHz:
The WLAN network for this application includes 70+ access points, two redundant WLAN controllers and 120 industrial switches. Its speed, reliability and ease of use enable the port to track and transport containers with high accuracy.
Let’s go down the list of issues that many people experienced with industrial wireless in the past and see how things have improved.
Yesterday’s industrial wireless has been overhauled with new technologies and new standards.
(Click here for larger image)
Whether your applications move people or goods, or if your facility uses mobile equipment, I hope that the examples and information in this article will prompt you to reconsider an industrial wireless solution.
Have you implemented a wireless application? Are you happy with its performance? I look forward to hearing from you.
Belden Products for Industrial Wireless