AutoMower - Grid Connect Has A New Team Member

Jul 1, 2022 8:14:00 AM / by Grid Connect Team

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A metallic and electronic addition to the Grid Connect family.

 

Automower 1.2

 

Grid Connect has a new member joining the team, but this member is not a person, it’s a machine.

The Husqvarna AutoMower 435X AWD can be seen maintaining the lawns at the Naperville offices. A high performance and multi-capable robotic lawn mower, The AutoMo

wer 435X

will keep the Grid Connect grounds looking pristine with minimal human operation required. But why did Grid decide on this particular machine? What problems does the AutoMower 435X solve, and what are its capabilities? And, perhaps most importantly, what are we going to call it?

 

Why the AutoMower?

 

Automower 3.2

The AutoMower 453X came to Grid Connect through a collaboration with Oak Grove Gardeners, in order to test the technology of this brand-new robotic mower model. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can it do?

 

No bigger than a car tire, the AutoMower 453X fits in nearly any home, and can mow a nearly one acre lawn in just 100 minutes. Safety is also paramount with lawn mowers, so the AutoMower comes with sensors designed to stop the blades when picked up or tilted. 

Automower 5

Designed for even the most demanding backyard lawn, the AutoMower 453X comes with all-wheel drive and a pivoting rear body. This allows it to manage tight corners and inclines as steep as 35 degrees. The Automower 453X also comes standard with exclusive patented technology, including GPS-assisted navigation, automatic passage handling and electric height adjustment.

 

The mower also comes equipped with AutoMower Intelligent Mapping (AIM) technology, allowing the device to create a virtual map of your lawn. With this, the AutoMower 453X can integrate with the user’s smartphone via the AutoMower Connect app. This lets them create custom work areas, with separate cutting heights and schedules, and even stay-out zones, protecting precious gardens and keeping the machine away from dangerous terrain. The AutoMower Connect app also allows for real-time tracking of the mower as well, and for the user to direct the AutoMower 45

3X with voice commands to their Amazon Alexa or Google Home digital assistant. 

Automower 2.2

Energy efficiency is key to the design of the AutoMower 453X. Battery powered, there’s no gas emissions or fumes usually associated with lawn mowers. Additionally, the mower comes programmed with low battery detection. It can even use that in conjunction with its AIM technology to return itself to its charging port as needed.

 

Above all, the AutoMower 453X is built for the long haul, with maximum durability in mind. Ultrasonic sensor technology helps the mower detect obstacles in order to avoid impacts and minimize damage. The front bumper is made of rubber as well, built to manage collisions even with rocks and trees. The AutoMower 453X also comes weather resistant, and can perform perfectly even on a rainy day. On top of all this, it comes with a code-protected anti-theft alarm, making sure it will stay where it’s supposed to.

 

Give the AutoMower a name!

The top 5 names suggested by our team were: 

  • Lil' Mo
  • MowBot
  • Blade Runner
  • Mowbi-Lawn Kenobi
  • G.O.A.T (GridConnect Omnipotent Automatic Trimmer)


We then took it to our loyal customers for their input and final vote. 
The winning name of our new team member is .... 

MowBot 

welcome to the team MowBot

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New ‘universal translator’ for industrial communications

Jun 6, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by Grid Connect Team posted in IIoT, Industrial IoT, IoT, IoT devices

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full-logo-green

 

Grid-Connect_logo

 

 

Grid Connect, Inc. and Real Time Automation® (RTA®) have partnered to bring original equipment makers a new embedded module that serves as a universal translator for enabling serial devices (RS-232, 422, 485, SPI, I2C) to communicate via protocols such as EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFINET, BACnet/IP and others. OEMs also gain the capability to push data from plant-floor and field devices to analytical and business applications via OPC UA and MQTT.

GRID32_tilted_no-labelGrid-32_logo (1)

 

 

 

 

To develop the highly integrated, compact module (33mm x 23mm x 3mm), ​we combined ​RTA's​ protocol stacks with our know-how of hardware and IIoT.Grid32_paperclip

The module offers device makers a quick-to-market, affordable and simple solution for adding a full array of industrial protocols to any new or legacy device a manufacturer uses. If an OEM’s device is interacting with the factory in, say, Modbus, the module enables the equipment maker’s device to communicate in a next-gen protocol like PROFINET. The array of protocols is no longer out of reach for device makers that may be manufacturing a lower volume of new products or facing prohibitively high costs for converting legacy products.

Learn more

Read full press release here or at the following sites:

 

About Real Time Automation, Inc.

Established in 1989, Real Time Automation, Inc., is based in Wisconsin and specializes in making easy-to-use connectivity products, source code protocol stacks 

and OEM solutions for use by control engineers on factory floors everywhere.  Learn more

 

About Grid Connect, Inc.

Naperville, Ill.-based Grid Connect, Inc. is an ISO 9001:2015 company and has been a leader in the embedded and networking marketplace for more than 20 years. Grid Connect’s products range from custom OEM smart devices and security controllers to bridges, switches, and diagnostics tools. Along with the products Grid Connect makes, the company also distributes and supports complementary products from other high-quality technology makers. Learn more

 

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The First Step of Product Development is Proof of Concept

Jun 3, 2022 8:00:00 AM / by Grid Connect Team posted in product development

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product planning board

 

Going from a good idea to a product can be a time-consuming and expensive process. Testing the idea by creating a proof of concept saves time and reduces waste, providing opportunities to optimize the idea and patch bugs.

 

Learn more about the process and variables in developing a proof of concept from Adam Justice and Cristian Codreanu's article on machinedesign.com.

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Machine Design Logo

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How to pick your communication protocol

Jun 2, 2022 9:59:21 AM / by Grid Connect Team posted in IIoT, Industrial IoT, IoT, networking protocol, protocol

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image-world_communication

 

There are so many options that exist to connect to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). How does a business choose between them?

  • Wi-Fi
  • LoRaWAN
  • Bluetooth
  • NB-IoT


Many factors can influence this decision, from the necessary bandwidth, to existing infrastructure, to security concerns. Letting the application determine the best protocol results in optimal for connectivity solutions, whether operating farming equipment, or shipping supplies, to conflict zones.

For more information, Adam Justice and Cristian Codreanu of Grid Connect provide their expertise in the following article on machinedesign.com. 

Read MoreMachine Design Logo

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Webinar : CAN Bus Diagnostics – Practical CAN troubleshooting

May 27, 2022 9:48:00 AM / by Grid Connect Team posted in CAN, CAN networks, CANbus, Events, Webinar

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Diagnosing CAN bus problems can be challenging. Even so, with a little practice and the right tools you don’t have to be highly technical to perform basic diagnostics on a CAN bus network.

 

 

Date : Monday, June 27, 2022

Time : 10:30 AM CT  (8:30 AM PT)

Register Now

 

This webinar will provide practical examples of troubleshooting a CAN network. It will cover the following topics:

 

Why You Should Attend

  • Troubleshooting common CAN bus failures
  • Troubleshooting the CAN Protocol using PCAN-USB and PCAN-VIEW
  • Advanced Troubleshooting with a Handheld CAN Bus Diagnostics Unit
  • Question & Answer

 

Meet the host

Gary_Headshot

 

Gary Marrs

Solutions Architect
Grid Connect 

 

Register Now

 

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Webinar : CAN Bus Data Logging – Your Data, Your Way

May 20, 2022 10:15:00 AM / by Grid Connect Team posted in CAN, CAN networks, CANbus, Events, Webinar

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CSS Electronics and Grid Connect invite you to join us for our free webinar where you will learn how CAN Bus data logging can be made easy. 

 

Gridconnect_RGB-1 css-electronics-logo (1)

 

View Recording

Logging CAN data and processing the data has never been easier, more flexible and interoperable than it is with the CANedge series of CAN Bus data loggers from CSS Electronics.   Process your data using 100% free and open source software with no monthly fees!   Join CSS Electronics and Grid Connect for this free webinar which will introduce the power and flexibility of CAN data logging your way! This webinar will cover the following topics:

 

Why You Should Attend

  • The CANedge series - key features & use cases
  • Configuring your CANedge & managing log files - locally and remotely
  • Processing and visualizing your CAN bus data
  • Get your questions answered by experts

 

Meet the experts

Rick_R_photo Martin_Falch

Rick Rockershousen

Vice President at Grid Connect

Martin Falch

Co-Owner at CSS Electronics

 

Register Now

 

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How to Diagnose a Controller Area Network (CAN)

Apr 29, 2022 9:00:00 AM / by Gary Marrs posted in CAN networks, CAN protocol, CANbus, PCAN

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In 1991, the Mercedes-Benz W140 was the first production vehicle to feature a CAN (Controller Area Network) based wiring system. By 2008 almost all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. used CAN bus networks.


CAN Bus

CAN-bus-intro-tutorial-controller-area-network

 courtesy of CSS Electronics

 

 

Before CAN bus gained popularity, vehicle wiring harnesses could contain miles of copper wire which significantly added to the cost and weight of the vehicle. CAN bus was originally designed to minimize copper wiring in automobiles by multiplexing electrical signals over a simple two wire network. By using a high-speed twisted pair cable, the amount of wire necessary to allow sensors, actuators and controllers to communicate was greatly reduced.

When people talk about CAN, there are really 2 main but distinct areas that make up a CAN bus network.

  • The lower-level CAN bus network
  • The CAN Protocol used to pass messages


The lower-level CAN bus

The lower-level CAN bus is a two-wire, half duplex, high-speed network system. The CAN standard defines the lower-level details (the physical layer) of the CAN bus. The physical layer is responsible for bit timing and synchronization, message framing, arbitration, acknowledgement, error detection and signaling, and fault confinement. 1

There are basically 2 versions of the CAN standard that cover the lower layers, CAN 2.0 and CAN FD.

CAN 2.0 was published in 1991. This specification has two parts (Referred to CAN 2.0A and 2.0B);

  • part A is for the standard format with an 11-bit identifier
  • part B is for the extended format with a 29-bit identifier

The CAN FD protocol was released in 2012 and increases the effective data-rate by allowing longer data fields (up to 64 bytes per frame compared to the 8 bytes of CAN 2.0).

Think of the lower layer of CAN bus as bits transmitted at defined speeds on the wire itself.

 

The CAN Protocols

While the CAN standard defines the physical layer a higher layer protocol is required to manage the communication messages on the CAN bus. The higher layer protocol handles details such as node addresses, flow control, fragmentation of data messages larger than 8-bytes, and establishment of communication among other things. Think of the higher layer protocol as the way the messages (data) are formatted, transmitted and received.

Currently, there are many higher layer protocols for the CAN bus. The most common ones are listed below:

CANopen - Industrial automation
  • IEC 61375-3-3 (use of CANopen in rail vehicles)
  • DeviceNet Industrial automation
  • EnergyBus - battery–charger communication
  • ISOBUS - Agriculture
  • NMEA 2000 - Marine industry
  • SAE J1939 - In-vehicle network for buses and trucks

All of these CAN protocols communicate over the CAN bus.

 

CAN Bus Diagnostics

Diagnosing CAN bus problems can be challenging. Even so, with a little practice you don’t have to be highly technical to perform basic diagnostics on a CAN bus network. Grid Connect sells a wide variety of tools from Peak Systems to help analyze and troubleshoot CAN networks.

 

Troubleshooting a CAN Bus network

Here are some of the most common CAN bus failures: 2

  • Device configuration settings
  • Missing termination resistors
  • CAN Hi and CAN Low wired backwards
  • Damaged CAN port due to lightning or welding

It is possible to manually troubleshoot the lower-level CAN bus. This can be done using a little vigilance and a multimeter to test and verify. All modules on a CAN bus network need four things to function properly: power, ground, a CAN data connection, and a proper device configuration.

Here are some simple things to investigate:

  • Check the CAN Device configuration. Make sure the baud rate of the CAN communications is the same as all other devices on the CAN bus.
  • Check the CAN bus termination resistance. A CAN bus has to be terminated on both ends with a 120-ohm resistor to prevent reflections from interfering with the data transmissions. In some cases, the termination resistor may be located inside the CAN device.
    • Turn Power off
    • Measure resistance between CAN Hi and CAN Low. Should be around 60 ohms.

  • Check the CAN bus voltages and ground connection.
    • Disconnect all CAN devices from the CAN bus except for the device being tested.
    • Power on the CAN device to be tested.
    • Measure voltage between CAN HI and Ground. The voltage should be between 2.5 and 3.0Vdc.
    • Measure voltage between CAN LOW and Ground. The voltage should be between 2.5 and 2.0Vdc

  • Check / Verify ground connection
    • Turn Power off
    • With the meter on the lowest resistance scale, measure the ground wire to earth ground. The meter should read less than the minimum 0.1 ohm that most meters can read.

  • CAN Transceiver Resistance Test – you can test the CAN port on a device to see if it is damaged by measuring resistance to ground. Damage from lightning or transients typically causes a short to ground on one or both CAN lines.
    • To test, disconnect the device (under test) from the CAN bus.
    • Make sure power is off to the CAN device under test.
    • Measure resistance from CAN HI to Ground and from CAN LOW to Ground. The result should be Mega ohms or open. If it is lower than this range, the CAN transceiver is probably faulty.


Troubleshooting the CAN Protocol

For troubleshooting the CAN protocol and communication message issues it gets more complicated. There are software and diagnostic tools that range from free software with basic functionality to expensive tools that provide very detailed data and analysis.

To start out, a simple solution is to use a USB to CAN bus adapter to connect to the bus and Windows based software tool to monitor CAN traffic. In this example, we use the Peak System PCAN-USB adapter with their free Windows software for displaying CAN and CAN FD messages (called PCAN-View). 3

pcan usb diag 2

 

pcan view1

 

pcan view2

 

For this example, we use the following equipment and devices.

  • Laptop running PCAN View (free download)
  • PCAN-USB adapter to connect to and monitor a CAN bus network
  • At least one CAN device talking on a CAN bus Network, in this example we used an Arduino board with a CAN-BUS Shield V2 from Seeed Studios. (Recommended that CAN bus be terminated with 120-ohm resistors on each end).

The PCAN-USB plugs into a USB port on the laptop. You need to download and install the USB driver from Peak. 

One minor limitation of this method is that the data rate of the CAN network must be known and the PCAN-USB has to be configured with this information. The Peak PCAN-Diag 2 can be used to determine the data rate on the CAN bus. (see below for an overview of the PCAN-Diag 2)

To start the connection to the CAN bus, click on the link icon in the top left of the window. 

PCAN view 7

This will bring up the configuration page.

 

PCAN view 4

 

 

To set the CAN bus data rate, click on the dropdown box and select the correct bit rate. In this case, we selected 125 kbps.

 

PCAN view 5

Then select the OK button. You should start to see packets arriving.

 

PCAN view 6

Here, we are seeing some packets from CAN ID 0x01. With PCAN-View there is quite a lot of functionality that can assist with monitoring and troubleshooting a CAN Bus. Here are some of its monitoring and diagnostic capabilities:

  • Displays all received CAN messages with ID, Data Length, and data bytes in a list.
  • Data messages or Remote Request frames can be transmitted on the CAN bus. These messages can either be transmitted manually, automatically in fixed time intervals, or as answers to received Remote Request frames.
  • Error Frames on the CAN bus are detected and shown.
  • Contains a Tracer (data logger) that can be used to record and store the data communications on a CAN bus.

 

 

download full CAN Diagnostics Guide

 

Handheld CAN Bus Diagnostics Unit

For more powerful trouble shooting there are hand held units that provide a lot more information that is very helpful when diagnosing a problem on the CAN bus. 

 

PCAN-Diag2_Catalog2011-1 PCAN-MiniDiag FD_Banner PCAN-Diag-FD_Manual-Title
PCAN DIAG 2 - Handheld Diagnostic Tool

SKU :  GC-CAN-DIAG2
MPN :  IPEH-002069-V2

PCAN MiniDIAG FD - Handheld Diagnostic Tool 

SKU : GC-CAN-MINIDIAG-FD
MPN : IPEH-003070

PCAN DIAG FD - Handheld Diagnostic Tool for CAN FD Networks

SKU : GC-CAN-DIAG-FD
MPN : IPEH-003069

 

An integrated handheld CAN diagnostics unit can provide a wide range of functions to allow investigation of a CAN bus, such as:

  • Auto detection of the CAN bit rate
  • Bus load measurements displayed by a time diagram, including a switchable display of error frames

Diag screen 1

  • The termination resistance measurement even while the system is running. Also measures Voltage for all pins on the CAN Bus (connected to handheld unit)
  • Receives and displays the CAN messages on the network

Diag screen 2

  • Send / transmit either individual messages or entire sequences of them to the network. In addition, the internal memory card allows tracing and playback of the CAN traffic.
  • The integrated two-channel oscilloscope enables visualization of CAN signals.

Diag screen 3

 

  • The CAN frames can be decoded from the recorded packets to help detect errors in the frame.

One of the biggest benefits of a handheld tool is that it can analyze the CAN bus network at both the lower-level physical layer as well as the protocol level. This saves time and helps to get to the source of the error quickly.

 

 

Download PDF version

 

 

Download CAN Diagnostics Guide

Reference

  1.   Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN_bus#Data_transmission
  2.   CAN BUS Troubleshooting Guide (with Video), Enovation Controls. https://support.enovationcontrols.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038856494-CAN-BUS-Troubleshooting-Guide-with-Video-
  3.   Peak System PCAN-View softwarehttps://www.peak-system.com/PCAN-View.242.0.html?&L=1
  4.   Peak System PCAN-USB module, https://www.gridconnect.com/products/can-usb-adapter-pcan-usb
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Custom vs Off-the-Shelf: The Pros & The Cons

Feb 25, 2022 9:45:00 AM / by Rick Rockershousen posted in custom engineering

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Ask our Engineers Anything:

 

What makes highly-custom projects different from Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) or custom componentry?

 

A custom-designed product can break through a crowded marketplace, and open a business to a whole new sector of consumers. When you search for a path to achieve this, however, you’ll find many options, from standard, commercial off-the-shelf (aka, COTS) components, to custom parts, to highly-custom projects. When considering creating a custom IoT application, how do you make the decision between the multitude of options?

What’s The Difference?

 

GC-Net485

In a recent post, we discussed the difference between commercial off-the-shelf components, or COTS, and custom componentry. To summarize, COTS components are simply pieces that are sold direct-to-consumer with a standardized set of features. An example of this would be the Grid Connect NET485 - RS485 Ethernet Adapter, which allows a serial communications technology to connect to Ethernet, and therefore become web-enabled. However, this Ethernet adapter may not fit the physical constraints of the technology it is being integrated into, or may include superfluous firmware features. To remedy this, the adapter can also be customized to precisely match the desires of the customer.

 

However, the additional option of a highly-custom project also exists. This begs the question: What is the difference between custom components and a highly-custom project?

 

“It’s about whether or not we’re taking an existing product and customizing it, or if we’re starting from scratch and creating a brand new product,” said Adam Justice, CEO of Grid Connect.

 

While custom components are essentially current products modified to a customer’s specifications, those components still need to be integrated into the customer’s technology on their side. highly-custom projects, on the other hand, are the creation of a complete product, from determining the best solution to the customer’s problem at the beginning, all the way to a boxed, ready-to-sell product at the end.

 

Considering Highly-Custom?

 

Seeking out and initiating a highly-custom project is most often done when the customer wants to expand their current line of products, or modify one of their existing products to compete in a new market sector.

 

“These highly-custom projects are usually a new business, segment, or market for our customers to sell their products into. Because of that, there’s more investment and time involved, because the specs have to be exactly what they want,” said Rick Rockershousen, Grid Connect’s Vice President of Sales.

 

The process of creating a highly-custom project begins when the customer approaches Grid Connect and describes the problem they are trying to solve with their new product. While the degree of collaboration varies on a case by case basis, Grid Connect’s engineers will use ground up engineering to develop a concept based on the information gathered from these initial conversations.

 

“I think, in the best cases, we’re trying to understand the problem and then we’re going to go out and propose a solution,” said Justice. “We do best when the customer can trust us to figure that out.”

 

As part of this development process, Grid Connect performs end-customer research in addition to product development. They seek out potential purchasers of the product being developed, inquire what they would want in the product, and incorporate that feedback into the solution created.

 

Once all of this consumer feedback has been taken into consideration, and the client approves of the solution presented to them, Grid Connect will manage the product’s manufacturing, production, and even packaging from end to end, providing the customer with a complete, ready-to-sell item at the end of the process.

 

Incredibly useful and successful products have resulted from highly-custom development. For example, Grid Connect worked closely with Schlage, who specialize in manufacturing locks, to develop technology that would allow its users to manage their home locks remotely from their smart phone or watch.As-seen-in

 

Grid Connect also collaborated with Wayne Water to create their new IoT Sump Pump. The pump uses Web connectivity to provide its owner with information about the pump’s life cycle, as well as real time alerts if the pump may potentially fail due to flooding.

 

The Pros & The Cons

 

However, many companies already employ teams of engineers for development, maintenance, management, and more. Why not make projects like this in house, rather than buy something from a third party? 

 

There are a number of reasons to consider investing in a highly-custom project even considering this. Even if a customer has a dedicated team of engineers, they may not want or be able to divert them away from critical business toward making something new. The current shortage of job-seeking engineers may certainly exacerbate this issue and further contribute to the decision to invest in a highly-custom option. This was the case for Schlage. Their engineering department needed to remain devoted to their daily business, which is their locks. Hence, Grid Connect was asked to develop a Wi-Fi adapter, enabling the connectivity Schlage desired to integrate with their locks. 

 

On the other side of this, Wayne Water’s engineers did not have expertise in  developing wireless connectivity solutions, and so they approached Grid Connect to partner in developing  their connected sump pump.

 

“Working with Wayne Water, the relationship there is they are the pump experts. They’re in charge of everything around pumps, and explaining that to us,” said Justice. “Meanwhile, we’re the networking and hardware experts, and we’re bringing all that to the table.”

 

An important thing to consider when debating about buying a highly-custom project is time to market. highly-custom lead times average around six to nine months from initial consultation to finished product. Grid Connect tackles time-sensitive challenges, and can complete development on a custom IoT application in as little as three months. Even projects with longer lead times get completed faster than if the customer chose to develop internally.

 

“For Schlage, we delivered from project start to shipping a product in just under a year,” said Justice. “They said, ‘Wow, this is the fastest project we’ve ever shipped.”

 

A highly-custom application definitely requires keeping many factors in mind. However, for custom IoT applications, Grid Connect has the expertise and experience to make the process smooth, quick, and successful.

 

Questions To Keep In Mind:

 

  • Do we have access to experts who can help develop our desired product in house?

  • Can those experts be devoted wholly to product development?

  • How important to the business is total ownership of the product being sold?

  • What is the desired timeframe to get the product to market?
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Using radio waves as slip ring replacement

Feb 18, 2022 9:36:00 AM / by Schildknecht AG posted in PROFIBUS, Profibus network, slip ring systems, slip ring rotary systems, rotary electrical contacts, Slip ring, electrical slip ring, Slip ring assemblies, Slip ring collector, where is a slip ring used, collector rings, rotary joints, electric rotary joints, sliding contacts

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Wireless as a reliable and wear-free option for data communication

 

How do you transfer electrical power and data between a fixed part of a machine or device and its moving or rotating parts, for instance in cranes or wind turbines? Obviously, cables won’t do the job, so this is where the electrical slip ring comes in.

 

Where is a slip ring used?

Slip rings have been around for ages, and they are used in all industrial branches. They have many names, such as collector rings, rotary joints, electric rotary joints, sliding contacts, rotary electrical contacts etc. Apart from cranes and wind turbines they’re used in industrial plants, mechanical engineering, robots, engines, and medical technology, just to name a few applications.

 

How slip rings work

As mentioned, slip ring assemblies are used, where you need to transfer power and/or data between stationary and moving parts. In the past such slip ring transmitters have helped solve tricky challenges in designing moving applications, for instance rotary tables.

However, its functional principle requires permanent electrical contact, and as such it has limits regarding data transmission: While you don’t have to worry about short interruptions when it comes to power supply, interruption of data communication in control systems means delayed or lost data packages, leading to errors and often to downtime.

 

Faulty slip rings? Time to modernize

Another weakness of data transmission via electrical slip ring is the wear and tear of the materials rubbing against each other. This means the slip ring assemblies require regular servicing and replacing, which leads to productivity loss. It gets even worse, if a slip ring suddenly malfunctions. That often leads to production coming to a standstill, resulting in high costs, angry customers and frustrated employees. To avoid that it is crucial to act before accidents happen, and to look into how you can replace slip ring assemblies with reliable and maintenance free data communication.

For instance, plants that previously were equipped with slip ring transmitters for PROFIBUS can be modernized, leading to improved plant availability and production efficiency. For power transmission only, sliding contacts and rotary transmissions continue to be a good option. But they can be complemented nicely with radio solutions. This separation of power supply and data transmission leads to more stable solutions and reduced risk of EMC disturbance.

In most cases, combining slip ring systems for power transfer and radio solutions for data communication is even significantly cheaper than slip ring assemblies that transmit power and ethernet protocols like PROFINET simultaneously. Moreover, this retrofit approach enables step-by-step updating of existing slip ring assemblies without large investment.

 

Radio is a fast and reliable alternative to rotary transmissions

In addition to the problems coming from wear and tear, rotary electrical contacts reach their limit when a rising number of sensors are integrated into networks and IoT solutions, and when high data rates, failure safety, and real-time communication is required.

Radio transfer is the perfect replacement for data transfer by sliding contacts. Radio technology offers reliable and secure data transfer for all serial Fieldbus protocols, like PROFIBUS or CAN, and also for ethernet communication such as PROFINET. Radio is easily made operational without costly installation and commissioning, and can handle complex networks and long distances. Moreover, Fieldbus converters allow new and older components to run in the same system and to be integrated into one single infrastructure. As a result, with wireless you can build complex networks for Fieldbus communication, with numerous controls and IO modules.

Contrary to other wireless systems like optical data transceivers, inductive systems or optical fibers, radio communication is flexible and absolutely wear-free. No maintenance means maximum availability of machines and production systems.

 

Which radio solution for replacing slip rings?

There are huge differences between the radio solutions available, and therefore large variations in transmission security and reliability. With DATAEAGLE Schildknecht offers a patented technology combining fast and easy plug & play installation with the highest degree of transmission stability. This eliminates Fieldbus errors coming from disturbances in data transmission, because data packets are analyzed, pre-processed and prioritized before being transmitted. Due to short-time storage of commands and configurable filtering time, short-time radio interference can be bypassed. This makes the data connection stable and reliable, even under harsh surrounding conditions.

 

Find the ideal solution for your application

Radio data systems with stabilized transmission are reliable, durable, maintenance-free, with secure communication and robustness against transmission errors. This makes them ideally suited for industrial machines and plants. In addition, the patented DATAEAGLE product family offers maximum flexibility and easy plug & play installation. This enables you to swiftly find the ideal wireless data transfer solution for your specific use case.

 

Does your application have special requirements? We’re looking forward to finding the ideal solution together with you!

Please reach out to arrange a meeting about your project – free and noncommittal

 

Contact Us

 

At a glance: Replacing slip rings with wireless

  • Ready immediately due to plug & play installation, even in complex networks and multi point connections
  • Stabilized radio paths with DATAEAGLE enhance security and reliability, due to pre-processed data and prioritized transmission
  • Maximum system availability, radio solutions are wear-free and maintenance-free
  • Ideal for modernization and retrofit, older or faulty rotary transmissions are quickly and easily replaced by radio modules. This allows for step-by-step modernization without steep entry costs.

 

 

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This is your quick and cost-effective entry into condition monitoring

Feb 11, 2022 8:31:04 AM / by Schildknecht AG posted in Cloud services, IIoT, IoT, IoT devices, IoT-enabled, IoT solutions

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Sensors can keep your machines and systems healthy and efficient. Being able to closely and continuously monitor the condition of production equipment in a factory will allow for targeted servicing and maintenance, fewer breakdowns and an increase in overall efficiency. The Schildknecht IoT Ready-To-Use system offers a quick and cost-effective entry into condition monitoring.

 

If you are new to the concept of condition based monitoring, it can be difficult to determine where to start. And what about the costs? And how to avoid turning it into a big and complex project with too many stakeholders?

 

There are many questions to consider before embarking on a condition monitoring project. At Schildknecht, we know how to answer them. Over the years we have built more than 500 proof of concepts together with our customers, and we have learned that you have to be pragmatic and focused to succeed.

 

Based on our experience, we have developed the Schildknecht IoT Ready-To-Use systems. They offer you a quick, easy and cost-effective entry into condition based monitoring, and we recommend a step-by-step approach to deploying them.

 

DataEagle Condition Monitoring System diagram

 

First steps for introducing condition monitoring

A good way to get started is to focus on the weak spots of your factory. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the weakest parts of my production setup?
  • Where do breakdowns occur most frequently?
  • Where do failures have financial consequences?
  • Where do breakdowns have widespread effects, e.g. because several production lines are blocked as a result?

 

Very likely you’ll be able to point out specific pumps, motors, or other equipment that constitute critical weaknesses in need of constant monitoring. This is the place to start.

 

The next step is to determine what you want to measure. The most common values are temperature, vibrations and noise level. However, the IoT Ready-To-Use system enables you to measure much more if necessary. Its CISS multi-sensor for harsh environments contains 8 sensors:

  • accelerometer
  • gyroscope
  • magnetometer
  • digital light sensor
  • pressure sensor
  • microphone
  • thermometer
  • humidity sensor

This versatility allows you to experiment and to adjust the setup along the way, until you have found the best parameters to monitor on your machines and equipment.

 

DataEagle Condition Monitoring System Product Images

 

Start with monitoring one application

To get started, it is important to focus on one application or machine. Don’t think too much about integration or turning this into a multi-functional system. Save that for later. The initial phase is all about focusing and building a strong case around one single application. This also lets you control costs and installation time.

 

From this point on you can adjust and expand your condition monitoring solution easily, as the Schildknecht wireless concept with decentralized sensors and central gateways gives you the flexibility to change your setup along the way.

 

For instance, you might have a number of older machines in your factory, with all the problems that go with them in regards to repair and spare parts. It would make good sense to monitor them closely to ensure maximum uptime and to extend their life span. A non-invasive system like IoT Ready-To-Use ensures easy retrofitting with the least possible installation efforts and disruption to production.

 

Or you can work towards the convergence of your IT and OT infrastructures. As IT and OT move closer together you might want to get a simultaneous overview of both worlds. For this, Schildknecht is partnering with PAESSLER, data from the Schildknecht system can be easily integrated into the PAESSLER PRTG Monitor.

 

Install the condition monitoring system

Getting a condition monitoring system up and running doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming. We have designed our system explicitly with ease-of-use and flexibility in mind.

For instance, no integration is needed, and its multi-sensor has magnets for easy installation. Also, to avoid the hassle of installing extra wiring, the system’s gateway uses radio communication to send monitoring data to a cloud portal.

 

You can mount the multi-sensor directly on the engine or machine. It transmits measurement data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to the DATAEAGLE 2730 IoT gateway, which is able to receive data from up to 8 sensors simultaneously. The gateway then pre-processes the data and transfers it via wireless 3G/4G to the cloud, where it is stored and ready to be visualized and analyzed via the DATAEAGLE Portal.

 

The DATAEAGLE Cloud Portal provides a ready-to-use dashboard to get an overview of the data coming in from the sensors. At this point you can analyze the data. Depending on the use case, you can set different transmission intervals of the sensor values to the cloud, or you can set alarms for individual sensors.

 

Request a demo

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information about how to get started with condition based monitoring. We invite you to request a demo or a test system – we are looking forward to helping you to a quick, easy and cost-effective entry into condition monitoring.

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