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The past, present and future of industrial connectivity

Published: 14 January 2020 - Rachael Morling

Our lives today are becoming more and more reliant on technology. Whilst we are surrounded by a plethora of labour saving and leisure activity devices, it is the joining up or connectivity of all this technology that is driving the most significant changes. Home automation systems, for example, already have the ability to control lighting, climate, entertainment systems, appliances and more, from a common smart device, writes Turck Banner.

As our data grows, so our future interaction with technology will change from direct interaction to automation. In short, our data will work for us without direct intervention. Services, such as IFTTT (If This Then That) allow users to create chains of conditional statements and to define conditions under which certain actions are performed. There are tens of thousands of pre-defined options that connect data and devices.

How is all this connectivity impacting industrial automation and what are the choices?

Hardwiring, cables & cordsets

With its long history of supplying cables, connectors and bus systems, Turck Banner has a very comprehensive connectivity programme, widely used across all industry sectors. Terminations involving a bare wire during installation are rapidly declining in favour of quick-disconnect wiring, utilising cables and cordsets terminated with a multi-pin plug or socket. One of the biggest advantages of quick-disconnect wiring can be seen during installation and commissioning. Installation time required for a single cable with moulded connectors is significantly less than hard-wiring the same device.

Many devices, such as sensors, valves and solenoids, can be sourced pre-wired with a connector to eliminate connection time during installation. Customers simply specify the relevant Turck Banner connector when ordering from the device supplier.  This results in even greater time savings.

In most applications, cables are ordered in pre-determined lengths, with service loops used to take-up any surplus slack. Receptacles are often used in conjunction with a mating cord-set to breach control cabinets and distribution bulkheads.

Robust, on-machine I/O devices maximise the benefits of quick-disconnect cables. These compact devices, such as junction boxes and splitters are used to minimise labour installations and offer a “plug and play” topology that can often be readily

modified or expanded to meet any future demands of end-users. The flexibility of this type of system enables testing and calibration of devices ahead of installation. Pre-assembly of individual sections are then taken apart for shipping and re-assembled on-site, further eliminating any unseen problems ahead of commissioning.

Whilst traditional, physical wiring will satisfy the majority of installations there are many instances where access is difficult, if not impossible. Such installation problems can be solved cost effectively using wireless technology.

Wireless connectivity & monitoring solutions

Turck Banner offers a comprehensive range of Smart wireless products that connect remote assets with the people who manage them, enabling real-time monitoring and management of equipment and conditions in difficult-to-access locations or where wired solutions are impractical, ineffective or cost-prohibitive. With the Smart wireless range, users can create expandable point-to-multi-point wireless networks that distribute I/O over large areas.

Common applications such as temperature and humidity monitoring are easily solved using the Wireless Solutions Kit, making it easy to monitor environmental conditions in multiple places from a convenient location. It is plug-and-play compatible with Turck Banner’s temperature and humidity sensors and wireless nodes. It will collect data from up to 40 nodes, providing an at-a-glance display of conditions at each installation. Using a graphical touch screen interface, users can setup a wireless network and begin collecting data in just a few simple steps.

Monitoring the performance of electric motors is another common but vital application. The CM Series condition monitoring node communicates vibration, temperature, and current draw data from a VT1 sensor and a current transformer to a Performance Series Gateway or DXM wireless controller over a secure, robust wireless network. These three critical indicators of motor performance and health are achieved without the hassle and expense of installing, altering, or expanding wired infrastructure to connect devices.

In the Cloud

Based on their reputation as a leading manufacturer of industrial automation hardware and, true to their total solutions provider policy, Turck Banner offers a range of cloud-based software solutions to meet the needs of industry. Flexible, hosted and on-premises solutions, backed by a global support network, provides customers with a level of support and peace of mind that can only come from a single source provider.     

In any installation it is the applications themselves that will determine the most viable connectivity method to adopt. The pros and cons of each method must be considered, based not only on initial installation but also on future maintenance and expandability.

From its vast knowledge of conventional connectivity products to the ultimate cloud-based solutions of tomorrow, Turck Banner have the answer. - Making the right connection has never been simpler.  

Industry Connections: Turck Banner Ltd


 
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