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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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. 

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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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How Time-Sensitive Networking Enables the IIoT

Sep 5, 2016 9:17:20 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in DeviceNet, Ethernet, Ethernet IEEE 802, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, IIC, IIoT, Industrial, Industrial Internet Consortium, Industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0. Machine, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, operational technology, PROFIBUS, tech, technology, testbed, time-sensitive networking, TSN

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The world’s first time-sensitive networking (TSN) testbed is being developed in a collaborative effort to change network infrastructure so that it will enhance the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). As this develops, it is essential that Industry 4.0. Machine designers, builders, and users have reliable and secure access to smart edge devices. This will force the current, standard network technologies to transform in an effort to meet the requirements of the next generation of industrial systems.

The testbed itself was designed to assist in creating a new wave of innovative technologies, products, applications, and services for the industrial internet market. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), comprised of the corporations developing the testbed, are attempting to create a TSN in an “ecosystem of manufacturing applications,” which is based off of new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards. The goal of the testbed is to provide insight on the security of a TSN as well as highlight its real-time capabilities through the use of standard and converged Ethernet.

In order for TSNs to be taken seriously, it will be crucial that there are sufficient security measures utilized in order to protect the safety of IIoT users. It is essential that the TSN security is integrated as a layered system, meaning security is implemented throughout the network, because simply adding security as an additional feature at the end of development (air-gap security) leaves the network vulnerable as it is only a perimeter-based measure of defense. One beneficial aspect of time-sensitive networking is its ability to determine the exact instance data was sent and when it is supposed to arrive; if anyone intercepts packets of data it will be easy to tell. That being said, TSNs require a central management aspect that have the power to alter entire networks, which could be a challenge in terms of developing security.

The use of deterministic Ethernet will alter the various safety systems for TSNs by allowing messages to be scheduled from safety applications in order to provide high availability for safety systems. The real-time, synchronous mechanisms of the deterministic Ethernet will enable the connection of more devices and more machines, creating a powerful and integrated IIoT. Mike Justice, president of Grid Connect, believes that its use as a control network has the potential to replace other existing networks such as Profibus and DeviceNet.

As the real-time capabilities of deterministic Ethernet continue to develop, there will be several applications that will benefit from the use of a TSN. Machine-to-machine communication would improve as it needs to operate with low latency and high synchronization. Safety-based communications could access data more efficiently as it is currently mostly done through hardwiring. General motion and robot controls would improve as accessing data through standard communication could be done with ease. Essentially any latency-sensitive application would be much improved through the use of a TSN.

Another interesting application of a TSN can be observed through cloud and edge computing as they provide an infrastructure that will improve the functionality IoT technology. The use of deterministic Ethernet through TSNs could theoretically allow for machine control to be executed within a cloud environment, but there isn’t much room for error regarding latency in communication. Even though consumer and industrial applications of cloud-based machine control have different demands in terms of real-time dependency and data consumption, they are still in the foreseeable future if network stability can be established. Private, local clouds have had success in controlling machines, but large public clouds are more concerning with problems such as technical issues, data confidentiality, and security.

Time-sensitive networking is a feasible option for advancing the IIoT as long as it delivers on its promises of speed and security. It will be a major improvement to converge from information technology (IT) to operational technology (OT) in regards to the security and integration of cloud services. Justice states that “The controls industry is conservative and will follow the IT market in a few years after security issues are well-addressed.” The ability of TSNs to connect machines to the cloud and create real-time data messaging and analytics will improve the overall functionality of the IIoT.

 

Read more at: https://www.controldesign.com/articles/2016/how-time-sensitive-networking-enables-the-iiot/?start=4

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An Industrial Strength Web

Oct 20, 2015 11:17:08 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in data, factory, Featured In, General, IIoT, Industrial Internet, Industrial Internet of Things, infrastructure, Internet of Things, IoT, machinery, plat operations, systems

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As the Internet of Things takes shape, factories of the future will have to be ready to deftly manage a cascade of data — a challenge that will put plant operations, infrastructure, and culture to the test.

Things are due to change on the factory floor. The machinery, systems, and processes manufacturers use to produce goods are on track to gain a digital voice, audible courtesy of the next frontier in digital communications — the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Should that come to pass, industry could be turned on its head.

A subset of the Internet of Things (IOT), a growing web of connected, networked communications devices and products, the IIoT, or Industrial Internet, may be the more practical, “blue-collar” version. It references a future where the very means and tools of production are wired up en masse to produce highly detailed and revealing operational data. From there, the hope is that data can be extracted, crunched, shared, and ultimately leveraged by stakeholders far and wide over potentially vast digital networks.

> To read more, download the PDF here.

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10 Top Challenges Industrial IoT Must Overcome in 2015

Dec 30, 2014 9:13:41 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 2015, Featured In, General, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things, Industrial IoT, Internet of Things, IoT, ROI

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A lot of the excitement and press surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) centers on home automation, wearable electronics, and other consumer applications. But industrial applications of the IoT, such as predictive maintenance and integration of the supply chain are likely to be the more compelling use cases, at least in terms of ROI. For Industrial IoT (IIoT) to realize its potential, however, it must overcome some substantial challenges.

Here's an industry perspective on what challenges IIoT must overcome in the coming year.

Read more at EE Times or download the PDF now.

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