Wireless Takes Control for Industrial Applications & Keeps Growing

 “Wireless transmitters & gateways are widely used in many different industries for monitoring but coming of legacy connections and energy harvesting proved that the technology can be incorporated in real-time for almost any application.”

Thousands of process industry applications around the world today are using wireless sensing whereas manufacturers reported the technology is significantly demanding and a growing segment within an industry. And although wireless is used primarily for diagnostics and monitoring of the problems, latest trends indicate that more extensive use of the wireless control is imminent, especially with all the new tools and tech which makes setting up and use of networks much easier.

Benefits of Wireless Equipment

Low cost is one of the primary reasons of using wireless. In comparison, a wireless transmitter can be installed and connect with the main control system at only a fraction of wired transmitter’s total cost. That said, a wireless transmitter can be installed, connect and integrate with control system for around one-fifth to one-third of wired transmitter’s cost.

Wireless transmitters need no signal wiring or a cable to respond to wireless gateway, which is one reason it’s hardwired to a single or multiple control and monitoring systems. Battery-powered units don’t require any power wiring allowing installation anywhere thus monitoring anything.

It’s obvious wireless works amazingly in truly remote locations like the offshore platforms, lift stations, pipelines, oil terminals, wellheads, tank farms and pumping stations. In all these situations, wireless equipment is linked to a gateway that’s hardwired to a monitoring and local control system. That said, gateway can also be hardwired against a long-range wireless transmission system.

Attributes such as simple installation low cost allow wireless to conveniently fulfil the requisites of industrial plants for optimised operations, energy saving, increase in efficiency and reduction in the maintenance cost. Take for instance wireless sensors and specialised software that can detect steam trap problems in case they occur.

These systems can also diagnose the problem, determine the source of issue and even notify appropriate maintenance that a particular device is malfunctioning or inoperable. This allow the maintenance team to go into the plant for repairs, fully prepared and aware of the problem referring to ‘know before you go’ attribute.

So far, wireless gateways have been exclusively used for monitoring and maintenance purposes in industrial plants mostly because of the updates and convenient rates. For preservation of the battery life, most of the plants pre-set update time of wireless transmitter for comparably low rate against their wired counterparts.

With approximately 8-second update rate, the battery lifetime is from five to seven years however, this 8-second update rate is unsuitable for fast process controls like that of liquids and gases. Apart from this specific fact, wireless control is used on remote tanks for prevention of overflows.

When the wireless level transmitters identify potential overfill, control system transmits a signal is sent to valve actuator integrated with a no-wire adapter to shut off the flow. It works like a kill switch. The wireless technology has forever been upgrading to meet the modern day challenges and solutions for better procedures and greater efficiency. Today, all these advances and development sum up to make wireless more feasible, low cost and better in performance.

Wireless transmitters operate with update rate of approximately one to two seconds, that’s fast enough for most of the process control applications.

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