Part of the benefit of the Internet of Things is you can create a system that will centralize access to all controllers and machine interfaces within a facility. Developing such a communication system has been an ongoing challenge for large sites.
In Culver, Ind., the Elkay Wood Products manufacturing site is a 60,000+ square foot building split into a Finish Room, Cabinet Assembly and Pack Line, making it difficult for the various sectors to connect. The company manufactures faucets, water coolers, drinking fountains and bottle fillers.
The goal was to automate all conveying systems, spray booths and heat tunnels used to paint and package products. Working with distributor Graybar, Elkay Wood realized the potential of wireless systems and found a suitable system with Phoenix Contact products.
High-speed wireless Ethernet
Engineers from Phoenix Contact implemented wireless products and accessories, DIN rail terminal blocks and fuse blocks, relays, power supplies and UPS, Ethernet communication and connectivity, Trabtech surge protection, circuit breakers and electronic housings. These products easily interfaced to the existing Modicon control system.
Then, Phoenix engineers added a conveyor control to both the Finish Room and the Pack Line, enabling the two areas to communicate using a OMNI Box II with FL WLAN 5101 wireless access points.
Doing so gave roving access as well as central access to all control panels. Additionally, workers could use iPads to view the HMIs on each unit, regardless of their location in the plant.
Two large double-door cabinets were designed and mounted using DIN rail terminal blocks and circuit breakers for common automation products. At 40 mm wide, the FL WLAN 5101 fit into one of the cabinets. This radio lets Elkay operators monitor and configure multiple access points with a network and Cluster Management (CM) technology. The 802.11n feature supports up to 300 Mbps of data passage throughout the product.
For added reliability, TRIO 10 A 24 Vdc power supplies handle surge protection. Each cabinet includes FL unmanaged Ethernet switches (8-port). To avoid interference with the company’s existing 2.4 GHz wireless network, the system used the 5 GHz option.
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, ALL INDUSTRIES, Wireless, Surge protection, Terminal blocks