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Weidmüller IoT Terminal
- Published: Saturday, 23 May 2020 16:50
Digital, data-based IoT solutions are based on five core functions: data collection, data processing, data communication and data analysis, as well as operator interaction.
Weidmüller offers a comprehensive product portfolio for digitalisation and intelligent networking from the sensor to the cloud. A new product in this portfolio is the IoT terminal; an open and safe solution for the industrial IoT that is quick to integrate into existing systems. The solution captures data, transfers data to cloud services, and also enables active data-driven interactions. It is particularly suitable for error recording and for transferring configured error messages to a cloud service.
A wide range of uses in industrial applications
The solution has several digital and analogue input and output ports. The input ports make it possible to use monitoring solutions to monitor four digital signals simultaneously. In addition, two voltage or current measurements and up to four temperature measurements can be carried out in parallel. Two ports are electrically isolated, enabling AC voltage applications. During commissioning, the IoT terminal automatically reports to the cloud and is ready to transfer data.
The commissioning and configuration of the IoT terminal is performed via the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) interface using an app. Once it has successfully logged in to the cloud, the IoT terminal can also be configured via the cloud. Configuration may include determining limit values and setting the corresponding reactions. If the defined limit value is exceeded, the user will be notified directly. These active, data-driven interactions open up a wide range of industrial applications, for example in solar parks for current monitoring or hydroelectric power plants. At the same time, it is also possible to carry out regular, timed transfers of data to the cloud. All transfers are also logged to the cloud, where they can be retrieved from the history at a later date. Using the MQTT/COPA web transfer protocol provides the user with the data in the form of standardised protocols that can be easily integrated into the user's existing engineering systems. The MQTT protocol manages and administers any movement of data via the so-called MQTT Broker, with messages being received and distributed directly. But it's just not the standardised provision of data in the cloud that is beneficial for IoT applications. Simple and cost-effective data monitoring via cloud services is another crucial factor in ensuring simple use within industrial IoT applications.
Communication via narrowband IoT and LTE-M
To transmit the data to the cloud, Weidmüller relies on communication via narrowband IoT and LTE-M cat. 1, among other things. These are mobile communications standards that are designed for cost-effective, energy-saving and low-price IoT services. The special narrow-band modulations of narrowband IoT and LTE-M increases radio signal penetration over long distances up to 10 km in rural areas and overcomes the attenuation caused by walls, machinery and environmental obstacles. The solution also features Bluetooth Low Energy and ModBus. It is approved by several global and regional mobile operators and is therefore globally available. This transmission standard is particularly well suited for the transmission of status data at regular intervals in decentralised applications, as little energy is consumed in these types of applications.
Quick and easy setup and commissioning
When designing the solution, the developers attached particular importance to quick and easy commissioning. An intuitive smartphone app supports the user through the entire setup and maintenance process. Once the app has started up, the user can log in using a username and password. The IoT terminal can then be selected from the list of scanned BLE devices. Once the IoT terminal has logged in as a "device", data can be accessed from the input and output ports.
One possible application for the IoT terminal is the cost-effective retrofitting of existing machines and industrial systems for recording energy consumption. In this case, the application can be implemented based on a cost-effective energy meter with just one Modbus RTU interface. The IoT terminal acts as a Modbus RTU master here and provides a very cost-effective solution for extending the system to include the IoT function. All components are located within a separate housing, known as the Energy-PnP box, and are therefore ready for simple retrofitting. Other external sensors such as flow switches or temperature measurement sensors can also be connected via digital/analogue inputs. All values are directly available in the cloud. All in all, this solution has been developed to build cost-effective and simple IIoT solutions that can be used to digitalise production facilities or infrastructure facilities where it has not yet been economical to do so.
Promoting vertical integration of the IIoT
When it comes to digitalisation, having an insight into machine controls and production processes is key, as is being able to access information from these processes. An important contribution to this is made by vertical integration, whereby information from production facilities is collected and forwarded for evaluation. Solutions from Weidmüller help to develop needs-based solutions for IoT applications and to successfully integrate these solutions into existing structures, such as for location-independent machine commissioning, an improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) or the generation of automated energy consumption reports. With Industrial Analytics and cloud-based services such as the ResMa energy and resource management system, Weidmüller is already offering solutions with a variety of benefits for customers.