Category Archives: I/O and Networks

Remote Monitoring via the Mobile Network

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Mobile Network Architecture

We are all available 24 hours a day. We have at least one cell phone, use the Internet on the go every day, and learn about the latest global news through our communication media. Having information at one’s fingertips is now essential to us all and nobody wants to give it up.

Think about the global competition in industrial production, which calls for us to continuously optimize our systems. As a production manager, you need to know at all times what is being produced worldwide on each machine, at what quality level and when the next maintenance interval is due. Such new systems are hardly imaginable today without efficient communication networks, which are essential for reliable system operation. This rapid development in the exchange of information and data that we have experienced in the telecommunications industry in the last few years is about to break into the industrial sector.

Indeed, many of these M2M (machine to machine) applications will be implemented over telecommunications networks. Now is the perfect time to consider these topics, applications, and technologies in the industrial sector.

Therefore I would like to share with you one of our success story implementing remote monitoring over the mobile phone network. The idea is to monitor remotely several paramaters on the oil well that is scattered in locations remotely using the GSM modem.

By doing this customer can get data more effective and efficiently compare to previously that one must go to every site locations and get information on the pressure and temperature at the oil well.

Solar-powered RTU

In this project we even integrate a solar system to power up the RTU and GSM modem since the location is remote and there is no power available. System architecture can be seen in the picture below:

RTU and Solar Power

Our GSM modem has a feature with dual sim cards which means when it detects low signal reception from one provider it can automatically transfer the communication to the other sim card. This is to maintain data availability.

We also set up a VPN tunneling in order to get a secure data transmission.

With this configuration, now customer is able to monitor oil wells data from office directly. They just need to select which location they want to monitor.

If you would like to know more on the remote communication using GSM modem, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.

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Radioline: The only Wireless System you need

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Finding it difficult to avoid the cost of laying long cables?

Fed up of laying long, 5km cables just to establish communication signals across your site?

Have issues optimizing your plant’s communication to get better monitoring and control?

Look no further! Say no to messy, cluttered and costly cables and say hello to wireless technology.

Introducing Phoenix Contact’s RADIOLINE Wireless Technology!

Radioline

Radioline

Phoenix Contact provides an INNOVATIVE way to upgrade and optimize industrial plants while eliminating costly cables and unnecessary downtimes.

No programming, no software. Less hassle, more productivity.

Phoenix Contact Radioline Wireless I/O mapping at the turn of a wheel allows for easy deployment in extensive plants – without any programming or complex configuration.

Radioline I/O mapping

Don’t be fooled by the colorful arrows, they’re not wires mind you but wireless signals transmitting across the RADIOLINE units.

It allows modular extension of every station up to 32 I/O-modules per station (hot-swappable) and creates multiple network structures up to 250 stations (yes, you heard it. Up to 250 stations! Impressive).

Radioline T-Bus

Radioline T-Bus

Phoenix Contact Radioline is THE wireless product for large systems.

So if you have a large system or a big plant to manage, Radioline is the answer.

Again did we also mention that the Radioline does not need any software or programming? Yes we did. By simply turning the thumbwheel, the Radioline is ready to go.

By simply turning the thumbwheel, the Radioline is ready to go.

No complicated software. Just easy thumb action.

Just watch this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrL6Lob8tnA

If she could do it, you could too!

Thanks to the Trusted Wireless 2.0 technology using 868 MHz, 900 MHz, and 2.4 GHz radio frequency, Phoenix Contact Radioline is the ideal choice for reliable use in industrial environments up to 5 km of signal communications.

Cables are a thing of the past and they cannot withstand demanding environments, not to mention the effort and cost in installing them.

Stop wasting time and money. Make the switch to Phoenix Contact’s Radioline TODAY.

Interested to find out more about how our Radioline and other products can help you? Send us an inquiry below and we'll get in touch with you as soon as possible. We can conduct demonstrations in your office.


To request for our "White Paper on Wireless Technology for Industrial Application" , submit your email address below and we'll send it straight to you via email.

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Ethernet HART Multiplexer – Transmit Process Data Via Ethernet

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Process plant with engineersDid you know that in the Process Industry, there are more than 40 million devices that are running on the HART Protocol and more than 75% of them are HART-enabled. However, up to 90% of these HART-enabled device are being under-utilized, used only to read the 4…20mA signal.

In the current trend of IIOT, there is a growing need for diagnostic data to be analyzed in order to reduce operating cost and increase system availability. The time from obtaining the diagnostic data to analyzing and determining the next course of action has to be almost instant.

In the past, if access to the HART data was needed, users typically installed an RS485 HART multiplexer connected to a PC. Whenever data from a particular field device is needed to be read, it can take a long time depending on the number of field devices connected to the RS485 HART multiplexer. This is because RS485 HART multiplexer works on a “master and slaves” principle.

Ethernet HART Multiplexer

HART Multiplexer

HART Multiplexer

Instead of using the RS485 HART multiplexer, Phoenix Contact introduced the Ethernet-based HART multiplexer. Our Ethernet HART multiplexer allows the user to easily parameterize and monitor field devices on the Ethernet network. The modular Ethernet HART multiplexer accesses other HART-enabled field devices using Ethernet-based fieldbuses such as PROFINET, Modbus/TCP, and HART IP.

Each device is an individual HART master which can be connected to higher-level, fast Ethernet network infrastructures. Up to 40 HART devices can be connected to existing configuration tools such as PACTware, Simatic PDM, Honeywell FDM, HART OPC server or HART server. End users therefore save time and costs since configuration and calibration, e.g. partial stroke test, process monitoring or current loop tests, are controlled via Ethernet and everything can be performed during active operation.

To find out more about Phoenix Contact’s HART Multiplexer, click here.

Electric Power and Renewable Energy 2016 Myanmar

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Exhibition Image

Electric Power and Renewable Energy 2016 Myanmar

We will be participating at the 4th International Electric Power and Renewable Energy 2016 Myanmar Exhibition from the 13th – 15th of October at the Myanmar Event Park (MEP) in Yangon.

Come down and join us to find out more about what we can do for you in the area of Power generation and transmission and solar. We are located at G16, Singapore Pavilion.

Click here to register at the event’s website.

A Wireless Solution – Easy Expansion Without the Hassle.

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Radioline – A Wireless Solution

What do you do when you need to collect more information from the field than you are currently able to? Traditionally, you would excavate then lay cables from the transmitter to the field device. A lot of hassle if your expansion was for just 4 signals. We may have just the wireless solution for you.

Recently, a water reclamation plant in the western part of Singapore had an existing system that required an expansion of 4 additional analog signal points. The distance between the field and the control room was only about 200 meters. However, to add just 4 signal from the field, proper wiring had to be done, including excavation and cable laying.

Our team, with the assistance of our system integrator met up with the customer to understand their needs. After determining the scope of work, a wireless solution was proposed. Instead of the labour-intensive cable solution, the team proposed the Phoenix Contact Trusted WirelessTM Radioline RAD-2400-IFS and the I/O extension module – RAD-AI4-IFS and RAD-AO4-IFS as an alternative.

Installing a wireless transmitter at both the field and the control room, our engineer then connected the analog signals to the IO cards, enabling the signal to be transmitted back securely. All this, from start to finish, we achieved in under an hour.

Trusted WirelessTM

Trusted WirelessTM 2.0 is a wireless technology specifically developed for industrial use. It provides rugged and reliable communications for your applications. In a 2.4 GHz band, Trusted WirelessTM 2.0 uses a Frequency Hopping Spread Specturm (FHSS) with up to 440 possible individual frequencies. Thus reducing the effects of interference signals.

radioline_solution

We not only saved our customer a significant amount of time and manpower with the Radioline Wireless solution, future expansions would only require the addition of IO modules.

If you are currently facing any issues and would like us to offer you our solutions, click here and send us the details and I will get back to you.

To find out more about Phoenix Contact’s Trusted WirelessTM Radioline, click here.

Cybersecurity for Industrial Processes

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Cybersecurity for Industrial Processes

Cybersecurity has become an increasingly prevalent subject in the last decades. While the focus has been largely on IT infrastructure and online safety, more attention has now been placed on Cybersecurity for industrial processes such as factory automation, water/wastewater plants, power generation and power T&D. This can be attributed to the increased awareness that cybersecurity required for IT is very different from cybersecurity efforts needed for industrial processes.

The main difference is the priority for these two information infrastructure. In IT, it is possible to focus heavily on cybersecurity, such that emails, applications, documents can be blocked with minimal impact on a companies’ P&L. On the other hand, downtime can result if files are stopped from being passed from one device to the other for Industrial processes. Downtime for Industrial processes is very costly as one can observe below.

downtime by industry
The are explicit costs due to downtime. In the case of concerted attack on Nuclear Power Plans (stuxnet incident)  or Power T&D systems (recent Ukraine cyberattack, causing mass blackout affecting at least 200,000 citizens), prolong system downtime can lead to life being lost, severe inconveniences amongst other non-monetary, immeasurable outcomes.

With such different requirements, it is then common sense that plant owners should look beyond IT cybersecurity devices for protection of industrial processes. While firewalls, VPNs, VLans, subnet etc. works for both IT and Industrial processes; IDS/IPS (Intrusion detection system/Intrusion protection system) is not ideal for Industrial processes because they are actively monitoring the data passing through. This not only slows down data transfer and cause delays (again, not damaging in IT network) but often results in false alarms: There can be unusual data passing through which might not be malicious but are essential to operations. IPS/IDS will stop these data and can potentially lead to down time.

In particular, IPS/IDS are used to protect against zero-day attacks/advanced persistent threats where an external party remains in contact with malicious code after they infiltrate systems. These external parties then manipulate these codes further to target specific loopholes. As such, anti-virus cannot detect these codes (no known signature) and firewalls/VPNs are bypassed.

At Phoenix Contact, we recommend MGuard with CIFS Integrity Monitoring that is tailored for Industrial Processes Protection against Zero-day attacks and advanced persistent threats:

Discover Malware on Day Zero: Integrity Monitoring

Due to the general problems with the deployment of antivirus software on industrial PCs and the timely provision of malware signatures, alternative techniques of integrity assurance are gaining relevance for the protection of industrial systems.
One solution is the CIFS Integrity Monitoring feature offered on Phoenix Contact’s FL mGuard security devices. CIFS, or Common Internet File System, is a file-sharing protocol used by Windows and other operating systems. Viewing files on network file servers and using shared network drives are common activities that utilize CIFS. With Integrity Monitoring, the user can monitor configurable sets of files for unexpected modifications of executable code. When initialized, Integrity Monitoring computes a baseline of signatures for all monitored objects and then periodically checks them for any deviations. This process works without any external supply of virus signatures, without the risk of disrupting operations through “false positives,” without installation of software, and with only a moderate load on the monitored PCs, while primarily utilizing the resources of an mGuard security appliance. The mGuard thus discovers suspect file modifications promptly, and reports them via SNMP and e-mail to network
management systems or responsible administrators.

In a test study performed at the University of Ostwestfalen-Lippe in Lemgo, Germany, researchers from the independent inIT institute for industrial IT (www.hs-owl.de/init/en/) have been able to verify that mGuard CIFS Integrity Monitoring would have recognized infections with Stuxnet on day zero as unexpected manipulations and warned asset operators against it long before any antivirus product. The device drivers installed by Stuxnet, as well as the modifications performed by the worm on the pivotal SIMATIC Manager DLL,
would have been discovered in the process.

Some other features that makes mGuard ideal:

  • Stealth mode – fast retrofitting without the need to configure/reconfigure IP addresses
  • OPC Inspectors – ability to track random ports opened by OPC Classic, which render firewall useless
  • 3G remote access
    1. If there are deviations detected with CIFS integrity monitoring, SMS alarm can be sent to system engineers.
    2. Although regular CIFS scan can be scheduled, in the event of known cyberattacks, engineers can simply SMS into mGuard to start an adhoc scan
    3. With 3G, mGuard or devices connected to mGuard can be remotely accessed from anywhere around the world

To find out more about how mGuard can help to secure your industrial systems:

Click here to download a white paper on Post-stuxnet Industrial Security

or contact us for a demo on MGuard configuration

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Safe Wireless Installation for Hazardous Areas

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a_0064853_intWireless technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Intermittent, unstable and slow wireless connections are gradually becoming a thing of the past. At the same time, wireless technology brings about tremendous convenience to everyone, reducing clutter caused by messy wires and making hard to reach places reachable. Continue reading

Robust I/O system classified for shipbuilding

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Thanks to low noise emission in compliance with EMC Class B and its mechanical robustness, the Axioline F I/O system from Phoenix Contact fulfils the stringent requirements for automation in shipbuilding. As a result, the I/O system has now obtained the approval of all major maritime safety testing associations, including, in particular, the attainment of the BSH certificate and passing the compass test. This certificate allows an I/O station to be installed only a few centimeters away from sensitive standard solenoid compass units.

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The new XC variants of the I/O system also offer an extended operating temperature range from -40 to +70 °C as well as varnished PCBs. They are therefore ideally suited for use in harsh engine room environments.

Ethernet media converters for basic requirements

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The new class 1000 Ethernet media converters from Phoenix Contact are designed for industrial applications with basic requirements. They offer a simple and cost-effective entry into optical transmission technology.

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Data transmission via fiber optics optimizes Ethernet applications in terms of performance and transmission reliability. In addition to a higher range, the benefits of electrical isolation are also reaped. The compact units in robust metal housings bridge distances of up to 9.6 kilometers. Multi-mode glass-fibers are used, optionally with SC duplex or B-FOC (ST) plugs.

Start-up is simplified by auto negotiation and auto crossing. In addition, data rates of 10 and 100 Mbps can be firmly set. Besides numerous diagnostics LEDs, the media converters are equipped with LFP function (Link Fault Pass-through). This ensures permanent and continuous monitoring of the connection. In the event of a connection loss, redundancy mechanisms can take over operation immediately.