Category Archives: I/O and Networks

Wireless Technology: the Industry 4.0 Backbone

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Industry 4.0 is the 4th generation industrial revolution. This world-changing principle enhances productive efficiency in smarter and faster ways by utilizing the state of the art technology of data analysis software alongside powerful computerized hardware capabilities.

The key to the success of Industry 4.0 is to connect thousands of devices to the central system in order to allow exchanging of various parameters to the processing unit, such as humidity, temperature, status, level, etc. Not only is data transmitted, but devices also receive commands for further actions.

Actually, the powerful hardware and advanced software capabilities have existed for over 20 years. However, the increased number of devices connected to the system means a higher cost of investment. In the past, the only reliable connectivity was through wired cables, which investment cost was directly related to the complexity of the number of devices.

This key obstacle has been rapidly resolved by the advent of reliable wireless technology. Today, various applications of wireless technology have been proven and widely used, such as:

NFC: Near Field Communication

RFID: Radio-Frequency Identification

Wi-Fi: Wireless Fidelity

What makes people trust wireless technology?

Security: New advancements in data encryption technology protects data from intruders.

Speed: The new standard of network 802.11ac helps increase data transmission speed to 10 times faster than the old standard which is sufficient for industrial control systems.

Savings: All stakeholders follow the wireless markets trend. Therefore, new hardware for wireless technology has been introduced daily. This brings significant reduction in the price of wireless devices which mean tremendous savings during investments.

Phoenix Contact offers a huge portfolio of products under the category of wireless technology, as shown below.

Why Wireless?

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In the conventional method of data communication we often use wired systems. In the setting up of such systems involving data communication, we would need to plan the cable routes very carefully, and it is often very costly when the wires are required to be routed up and down such that obstacles are avoided in order to get connected. Usually the cost of the cables, labour, special tools for terminating etc. would be a considerably huge amount.

Besides the significant installation cost, physical degrading of the cable is a common issue faced (for example, wear and tear due to weather conditions, accidental cuts, scratches and bites by animals such as mice and ants). Especially when the system is down as a result of this, nobody would know which part of cable is broken or damaged.

In wireless technology, we could eliminate such worries and the less hardware used means that the risk of a breakdown would be lower. Aside from this, wireless technology has the following advantages:

  • More flexibility
  • Interference-free communication
  • Mobility and freedom of movement of participants/devices.
  • No wear and tear of the transmission medium
  • Able to bridge long distances and problematic areas
  • Neat looking

Applications of Wireless Techonology:

Some of our Industrial Wireless products are shown below:

An example of a typical setup:

Radioline Wireless Network

Wireless HART Network

Bluetooth Wireless Ethernet

CLOUD IoT GATEWAY – The Smart Gateway for IoT Solutions

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The CLOUD IoT Gateway is designed to allow users to integrate their existing systems into the cloud. Machines and physical infrastructures can now be connected to the digital world. This will allow users to implement applications such as big data, condition monitoring and comprehensive data analysis. With protocols such as Modbus/TCP supported, the IoT gateway enables an easy process of connection.  No additional engineering software is required as the parameter configuration can be easily carried out at the gateway using web-based management.

Key benefits to users

  • Direct connection to the cloud for data analysis
  • No learning of new software – configuration is done via web-based management
  • Existing devices with Modbus/TCP can be connected to cloud
  • Robust hardware for usage in industrial environment
  • Secured transmission using TLS encryption (Transport Layer Security)

Interested to see how this works? Feel free to request a demonstration from us by filling up the form below!

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OPC_UA SERVER for PC WORX-based Controllers

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Dynamic market changes make it necessary to solve automation tasks in line with Industry 4.0. The objective is always to produce more efficiently and intelligently. Uniform protocols, rules, and standards for communication are required to intelligently link machines and system components.

In the past, it was a very challenging task for any engineer to setup, access or share OPC classic remotely in a network but that has changed now, with Phoenix Contact’s OPC_UA Server.

The PC WORX UA SERVER from Phoenix Contact enables you to access all variables of PC WORX programmable controllers via the OPC_UA (Unified Architecture) standardized communication protocol.

Fig 1: System architecture with OPC_UA

Fig 1: System architecture with OPC_UA

Why you should switch to OPC_UA

The OPC Unified Architecture Standard, OPC_UA, is being adopted more widely across the market as the new market standard and provides the basis for open and standardized communication in the digital future.

OPC_UA Server capability:

  • Handle up to 200 controllers in a visualization or production control system
  • Variables are mapped via the standardized PLCopen profile
  • The OPC_UA server uses the binary protocol for communication, resulting in high data transmission speeds
  • A security concept based on certificates protects against unauthorized access
  • Status & Quality of connection for each individual items
Fig 2: OPC_UA VS OPC Classic

Fig 2: OPC_UA VS OPC Classic

In the end, the key feature that makes OPC_UA server the backbone for any IIOT system that uses PLCopen profile would be the fact that it allows customers to build extremely fast web/cloud base visualization even without a need to pay additional costs for licensing.

Fig 3 & Fig 4: Web/Cloud Visualization of data from monitoring a mini solar cell via OPC_UA

PLC Logic – The Better Smart Relay

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There are numerous smart relays in the market but PLC Logic is perhaps the only one that can have both control and monitoring capabilities while linked to an Apple iPad. This is done by using Bluetooth dongle, which turns the PLC Logic into a modern wireless control system.  The range of Bluetooth devices is 100 meters with unobstructed line of sight and this translates to a lot of cost savings for applications that require control and monitoring remotely without the need to spend money for installation of communication devices and cable installation. The best thing is that the app is free from the Appstore. An additional plus point is that the interface looks really cool and clean, similar to what you can expect from an Apple Interface.

The PLC Logic also has versatile communication options to any higher level control system. It can support protocols such as PROFIBUS RS-232 RS-485 Modbus/TCP DeviceNet™ CANopen® PROFINET EtherNet/IP™ with just a change of gateway. With so many protocol options, there is no need to worry if the PLC Logic can support any higher level controller in the market.

One of the advantages PLC Logic has over the many smart relays in the market is that the relays are pluggable and replaceable. This solves the problem of the need to change the whole smart relay module in the event of a faulty relay. This translates to lower replacement cost. More importantly, downtime is greatly reduced and one just needs to change a relay instead of reprogramming the smart relay if the unfortunate relay gets faulty.

Another game changer in the smart relay market is that the analogue cards, both input and output, can be inserted as part of the main PLC Logic module without the need to attach a separate analogue module. This translates into cost savings as well as space savings. The analogue card supports both mA and V in full ranges. Besides that, there is also an analogue input card that supports PT100 or PT1000 sensor.

Last but not least, the PLC Logic comes with an option of full Push In connection technology. This can be found on the PLC Logic controller itself as well as all the corresponding relays that can be supported. The advantage of Push In is evident in applications that are prone to vibrations – you are well assured that none of the wires from the PLC Logic will be loosened.

Radioline Signal Strength

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FAQ About Radioline

Question: Which wireless technology is used in the Radioline devices?

Answer: A proprietary wireless protocol is used in the Radioline wireless system. The wireless technology is called Trusted Wireless and is specifically designed for the reliable transmission of data and signals over long distances. The new Version 2.0 offers adjustable data rates, encryption, extended diagnostics, and parallel operation of multiple networks.

 

Question: Is Trusted Wireless really suitable for industrial use?

Answer: The frequency hopping spread spectrum enables reliable data transmission even in industrial environments and in the event of interference.

 

Question: What range can be achieved with the Radioline wireless system?

Answer: Depending on the set data rate and the antenna used, the following ranges can be achieved with a line of sight:

  • 4 GHz: up to 5 km
  • 868 MHz: up to 20 km
  • 900 MHz: up to 32 km

The above specifications is according to the product design, but sharing with you the test made in point to point configuration, having trees and structure as obstructions between two points.

At no line of sight, Radioline still transmits and receives analog and digital signals. Thus, Radioline works!

FL 2000 Managed Switch for Railway Applications

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Highspeed commuter trainFor many years, Phoenix Contact has been a reliable partner of the Railway Industry, supplying products such as Power Supply Unit, Terminal Blocks, Heavy Duty Connectors for railway applications. In the recent years, Phoenix Contact has invested a significant amount of effort to create innovative products such as controllers and ethernet switches for automation applications.

Ethernet-based communication medium/protocols are becoming the norm in modern automation environments. Traditional serial-based communication medium/protocols are unable to support the requirements for transmission speed and data size; especially for time-critical applications.

FL 2000 Managed Switch

Phoenix Contact's FL 2000 Managed SwitchThe new FL 2000 Managed Switch was officially launched in April 2017 during the Hannover Fair. This new series of Ethernet Switch was specifically developed to bridge the gap between simple unmanaged switches and complex managed switches which are already available within Phoenix Contact product portfolio.

In railway applications, data integrity is especially critical to ensure the smooth and safe operations of the system. Transmission distances from various subway station control systems to the main control center are often in the range of kilometers, which conventional copper-based medium cannot handle. The only way to transmit the data over long distance is via Fiber Optic technology.

Our sales team spotted an opportunity to propose our FL 2000 Switch in one of the railway system upgrading project in this region. We managed to overcome several challenges despite facing strong competitions from various industrial giants. The main unique selling points of our FL 2000 Switch that met with approval of the end user and system integrators were:

  • Feature important automation features with attractive price/performance ratio
  • Easy/Flexible Configuration/Setup
  • Comprehensive approvals to meet stringent industry-specific approval requirements
  • Various connection port options: Copper and Fiber Optics; Gigabit network possible

In addition, we are also able provide a bundle offer including our UPS and Power Supply Unit.

If you would like to find out more about our FL2000 switches, check out our website or you can leave your contact and we will get in touch with your as soon as we can.

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Phoenix Contact – Your Partner in Safety and Reliability for Railway Industry

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RailwayPhoenix Contact has been serving the railway industry for decades, especially for rolling stock and signalling. Safety and reliability has always been our number one concern when developing products for railway applications.

Safety on Board

The basic requirement for safety and reliability is standard compliance. Phoenix Contact has been certified by the International Railway Industry Standard (IRIS) since April 2008 and this standard is based on the quality management standard DIN EN ISO 9001, which has been extended with international railway-specific requirements. The ongoing tests during the development and production cycle of the products are essential to guarantee the product quality.

On top of that, all rail-specific products from Phoenix Contact fulfill the standards of DIN EN 50155, an international standard covering rolling stock; DIN EN 50121 electromagnetic compatibility; and EN 45545, fire protection on rail vehicle. Besides, shock and vibration test, material test and other fire protection is also critical for the railway application.

Safety should not be limited to the big ticket items and should even be extended to the passive component level. For example, the cable markings like shrink sleeve should be halogen-free and fulfill DIN 5510-2 with an oxygen index of 34.9%. besides being halogen-free, the cable ducts should enable individual bars to be broken without using any tools or resulting in any burr through defined breaking points according to EN 45545-2 (R22/R23:HL3). Behaviour in fire is another key concern and the plastic used for Phoenix Contact’s terminal blocks is halogen-free polyamide PA 6.6; which meets the highest safety requirement of UL 94 V0.

Push-in Terminal Blocks and Marking

Push-in Terminal Blocks and Marking

Cable Management

Cable Management

Network on Board

Nowadays, commuters demand for “Internet on board” has made the information and infotainment systems essential in trains. The M12 network connectors with a mechanically robust design, in compliance with IEC 61076-2-101, together with high quality cables meeting the requirement of EN 45545-2 will ensure reliable communications. The heavy-duty connector, compliant with IEC 61373, with modular contact inserts form a flexible and safe transmission of signal and power circuit on rolling stock carriage connection and simultaneously ensures comprehensive protection in the event of electromagnetic interference fields.

Halogen-free Polyamide PA 6.6

Halogen-free Polyamide PA 6.6

M12 Network Connector

M12 Network Connector

Surge Protection

Surge voltages and lightning strikes are common issues in signalling, hence the surge protective device (SPD) become significantly important to maintain reliable signal transmission. Phoenix Contact’s SPD has been tested according to IEC 61643-21 and the plug can be disconnected for test and maintenance by using the portable test laboratory. According to IEC 62305-3, the SPD must be tested regularly and the test values should be documented and traceable. Additional features like multi-stage monitoring (green – operating, red – fail and yellow – reach performance limit) for predictive maintenance and remote signalling for early detection of overloaded SPD can help to further enhance reliability.

HEAVYCON HPR

HEAVYCON HPR

HEAVYCON Modular Inserts

HEAVYCON Modular Inserts

Signal SPD with multi-stage monitoring (PT-IQ)

Signal SPD with multi-stage monitoring (PT-IQ)

Signal SPD with remote signalling (TTC)

Signal SPD with remote signalling (TTC)

Power Supply

The power supply unit (PSU) is used to convert main AC to low-voltage regulated DC power and it should at least be compliant with EMC Directive 2014/30/EU, IEC 60950-1, DIN EN 61558-2-16 and UL 508. To ensure smooth operation and maximum uptime, the redundancy setup of the power supply cannot be overlooked.

A redundant system can made up of two power supplies and a diode or Phoenix Contact’s O-RING to prevent back flow of current. An ORING being a more advanced and modern redundancy module compared to the diode, comes with auto-current balancing (ACB) technology which ensures the power supplies work equally hard. This enables the power supplies to have a longer and more consistent lifespan.

The redundancy status as well as the status of the ORING can be monitored, whereas this cannot be done with a DIODE. The PSU becomes more reliable and dependable when it is capable of sending analogue signals to control system on measurement values such as real time current, voltage and power for early detection of operational fault as well as critical information to the user.

QUINT 4 Power Supply With Diode

QUINT 4 Power Supply With Diode

QUINT ORING with ACB

QUINT ORING with ACB

Transporting You into the Future

Phoenix Contact will continue to develop the products or solutions that suit railway application and safety and reliability will always be the top concern on top of ease of installation, operation and maintenance.

To find out more about the solutions that Phoenix Contact has for the railway industry, check out our website or leave me your contact and I will get in touch with you as soon as I can.

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QUINT4 Power SupplyQUINT ORINGQUINT DIODEPT-IQ SPDTTC SPDHEAVYCON HPRHEAVYCON Modular InsertsM12 Network ConnectorsPush-in Terminal Blocks and MarkingsCable Management ProductsIRSE ASPECT Conference 2017Monitoring SystemsEMProPower Meter

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Let there be Light

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Let there be light: Phoenix Contact Components for Reliable Power Grids

On 7 July 2017, Phoenix Contact Singapore Team organised a’ Dining in the Dark’ event as part of Corporate Social Responsibility.  In the short 2 hours without our sight, we experienced a range of emotions such as fear and helplessness. This event also allowed us to understand the challenges that persons with visual impairment faced daily. It is truly a meaningful event that we are thankful to be able to experience with the friends we made from work.

Phoenix Contact's 'Dining in the Dark' CSR Event

Phoenix Contact’s ‘Dining in the Dark’ CSR Event

In today’s world, it might not be an exaggeration to say that we will feel the fear and helplessness if we do not have access to electricity. For a start, life-sustaining equipment in hospitals will not be in operation. Many of life’s conveniences such as lights, entertainment, air-conditioning etc. will be stripped from us. For this, electrical grids are always considered critical infrastructure all around the world and efforts are made to ensure the grid is always operating. Phoenix Contact contributes to this reliability with our products. Below are some examples:

  1. Terminal blocks (Clipline Complete)Clipline terminal blocks
    Our terminal blocks are widely used in power industry. For quick installation in Marshalling/Pilot panel, our customers prefer the use of

    • Push-in connectionThis connection method is fast, do not require special tools, safe, ensure consistent and good connection for every insertion and ideal for areas with high vibration. Most importantly, unlike screw connection, over time, push-in connection does not loosen.
    • QTC connectionThere is no need to strip the wire using QTC connection, making it the fastest way for wire installations. Moreover, Phoenix Contact QTC terminal blocks do not require special tools!

     

  2. Protection terminal blocksURTK-6 Test Disconnect Terminal Block
     
    Especially for CT testing, where you have to make the testing circuit before breaking the transformer circuit, it is important to ensure that the “make-before-break” is done properly! Failure to do so results not just in power outage, but often death.
     
    Our solution is our range of test disconnect terminal blocks, clearly labelled to ensure operators know exactly what is being done. There are also ample spaces for accessories for you to do the necessary bridging and testing.
     
    Offering inspiring innovations, Phoenix Contact has come out with a test disconnect system. Instead of manually doing the switching, why not let our system take care of it for you with Fast And Modular Energy system (FAME).
  3.  

  4. DC/DC Converter and Power SupplyQUINT DC/DC converter and Power Supplies
     
    Usually in substations, there will be 110VDC power supply. However, most electronics components (remote IO, network switch, RTU) requires 24VDC/48VDC power input.  For this purpose, many substations around the world choose Phoenix Contact Quint IV Power Supply. 
     
    Your advantages

    • SFB Technology selectively trips standard circuit breakers, loads connected in parallel continue working
    • Preventive function monitoring indicates critical operating states before errors occur
    • signalling thresholds and characteristic curves that can be adjusted via NFC maximize system availability
    • Easy system extension thanks to static boost; starting of difficult loads thanks to dynamic boost
    • High noise immunity, thanks  to integrated gas-filled surge arrester and more than 20 ms mains failure buffer time. Moreover, Phoenix Contact Quint IV Power Supply comes IEC61850-3 certified. This means that the unit can be used even for IEC61850 applications!
  5.  

  6. Interposing relays
    With a wide range of relays, Phoenix Contact has the right solution for all standard relay applications, such as interposing relays.
     
    Your advantages

    • Easy handling, thanks to modern wiring and potential distribution concept
    • Easy extension to a timer relay, thanks to plug-in special function module
    • Complete product range covering all standard relay applications
    • Reliable system for high machine and system availability
    • Available as a complete module or modular system
  7.  

    Easy Wire Termination  Easy Power Distribution  Complete Product Range

    Test Disconnect Push-in Connection

    Our relays with push-in termination technology provide fast and easy tool-free wiring. Simply push the wire into the terminal , using very little force. Remove the wire by pushing done on the release button, using a screwdriver or ballpoint pen.

    Test Diconnect Terminal Block Jumper

    Reduce your wiring time up to 70 percent by using our modular terminal block plug-in bridges. These time-saving bridges ensure a reliable connection and reduces the possibility of wiring errors.

    RIFLINE Complete

    Switch currents up to 16 A. From coupling relays to a replacement for small power contactors; the product range offers the right relay for every application. Benefit from a uniform and consistent system

  8. Heavycon (Heavy-Duty Connector)
    Substations have high EMC and electrostatic interferences. They are also generally not places that people like to hang around in! Heavycon can help to reduce installation/maintenance time and at the same time, ensure reliable power/data/signal transmission. With a modular system, you can combine Fibre, Ethernet, Serial, signals, power all in 1 connector!

HEAVYCON Modular Connector

For example,

  1. the Local control cabinet can be connected quickly to the bay cabinet
  2. The Circuit breaker compartment can be easily disconnected/connected to the switchgear

 

To find out more on how Phoenix Contact's products can help you, send us an inquiry below. Our local representative will get in touch with you shortly.


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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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