Five top tips for industrial wireless applications

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Mark Harries, Business Development Manager for I/O and Networks at Phoenix Contact, discusses tips for industrial wireless applications.

Five top tips for industrial wireless applicationsWireless communications offer several advantages in industrial environments, but care must be taken in order to achieve a reliable and cost-effective implementation.

1. Planning

To help identify the best wireless product to use, download Phoenix Contact’s Wireless Network Planner tool. This helpful software is free to download and with the aid of a wizard takes the user through the best product to select in a step-by-step way.

Download the software – once at the Phoenix Contact e-shop, click on “Components and Systems- AUTOMATION”, choose “Software” from the list, click on “Planning and Simulation” then on “Wireless simulation software”. You can then download the demo version.

2. Is line of sight important for wireless applications?

Line of sight for wireless applications is important. If you cannot guarantee line of sight between the antenna of the transmitter and receiver then you could experience problems. Phoenix Contact can arrange a site visit and/or demonstrate their solution to this problem.

Many of Phoenix Contact’s approaches, such as Radioline, can be integrated into a mesh network that will self-heal if the signal path is lost. This gives you peace of mind for reliable and robust wireless systems without fear of critical signal failure.

3. Is Bluetooth a reliable wireless option?

Phoenix Contact’s Bluetooth devices are highly reliable options typically for indoor applications up to 500m. They use 2.4GHz bandwidth which sits outside the interference bandwidths from motors, drives, welding machines etc. They also use a frequency-hopping pattern so that the transmission channel is changed 1600 times per second. This prevents interference, cross-talk and provides you with a stable, reliable and cost-effective system. Follow the link to see some example applications.

4. Are wireless systems only good for short distances?

Phoenix Contact offer a complete range of products which can offer cable replacement options up to 5km in distance. The time, cost and inconvenience of laying cable over long distances pails can be eradicated with affordable systems from Phoenix Contact. Click on the following link to download Phoenix Contact’s Industrial Wireless Brochure (11.1MB).

5. I want to transmit safety signals wirelessly, surely this is not possible?

In fact, if you use WLAN or Bluetooth devices in conjunction with Phoenix Contact’s Safety Bridge product you can transmit safety signals wirelessly. The highest safety levels can be achieved in accordance with the latest standards (ISO 13849-1 & 62061). This means that you can achieve PLe/SIL4/Cat4 systems wirelessly.

This is very useful for certain applications where the cabling for the safety circuit is difficult or the cable is prone to breaking. A good example is a transfer car application.

Visit the Phoenix Contact website for more information about the company's wireless products.

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