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MediaCase studiesWireless network solution facilitates proactive ma...

Wireless network solution facilitates proactive management of critical production data

Our customer in the Manufacturing industry required a robust solution for high-level access to production data on their management IT infrastructure. This would give them full visibility of operational data and allow them to identify when machinery is under-performing and examine the value of their existing processes.
For this project, our customer needed a networking solution to interface to existing PLCs allowing them to wirelessly connect to their management IT infrasturture in order to visualise machine performance and minimise production down time inline with their goals for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Throughout the manufacturing plant, Industrial robots are pre-loaded with daily production plans, and controlled autonomously using PLC’s housed in control cabinets.

The control PLC’s have a smaller companion PLC installed alongside, their job being to gather critical operational data and relay this to the wireless network via wireless clients. With the current infrastructure, the existing wireless clients were outdated and only intermittently passed the operational data onto the management IT network, meaning that analytics relating to machine performance, production breaks and other essential operating information could not be relied upon.

Reliability is key

For Impulse Embedded, reliability is key. Once we had understood the project demands, our in-house FAE visited the customers’ site to configure and test the proposed wireless solution on the live production line, making sure that all of the challenges outlined in the brief were addressed.

A MOXA Wireless client, with wide operating temperature, anti-vibration design and rugged power isolation, capable of fault free wireless connection in the harsh electromagnetic environments prevalent in manufacturing plants was chosen.

The MOXA wireless client connected seamlessly to existing PLCs, making them visible on the network with a static IP address, allowing the user to log in to the device and extract the data automatically. Furthermore, as an added security layer, the MOXA Wireless client generates separate IP addresses, making connections robust and future proof.

Whilst on site we thoroughly tested this concept by plugging directly into the Ethernet port, and logging in to the system remotely via the network demonstrating to the customer in real time that the new hardware solution was successful.
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