Wireless abounds at ISA EXPO
After walking around the show floor at ISA EXPO last week, it quickly became obvious that Wireless was the single, most pronounced topic, at least amongst the exhibitors.
Of course, Honeywell Process Solutions, one of the largest proponents of wireless had a presence at the show. Jeff Becker, Honeywell’s director of global wireless business, indicated that they have well over 500 successful wireless installations with the largest installation operating with over 2000 nodes. Back in June, Honeywell announced OneWireless mesh network.
Dust Networks announced the SmartMesh IA-500 family of standards-based wireless sensor networking (WSN) systems. SmartMesh IA-510, the first in this family, is compatible with the WirelessHART standard and enables industrial automation vendors to meet the rapidly growing demand for standards-based WSN solutions. With an estimated 25 million HART field devices currently installed, and approximately 3 million new HART devices shipping each year, industrial automation vendors and end users are expected to embrace the unifying standard. Dust Networks is currently working with leading industrial automation vendors, including Emerson Process Management and Phoenix Contact.
A number of relatively new wireless players also emerged at ISA EXPO including companies like AirSprite, GainSpan, GreenPeak and Oceana, among others.
AirSprite rolled out its plans for a family of products that will deliver dramatic improvements in operational efficiency, plant utilization, and employee productivity. The company’s first products will connect directly to HART devices and require no changes, enable the installation of industrial wireless networks that work with existing systems, and be upgradeable to comply with future standards.
GainSpan, an Intel spinoff, is a provider of Wi-Fi semiconductor and software solutions that provide years of battery life for sensors and other connected devices. Oceana Sensor has partnered with GainSpan to develop the Wireless Sensor Module (WSeM) which can be implemented into an existing product or incorporated into new product designs. The WSeM contains an analog to digital converter/filter, an on-board processor, and 802.11 wireless communication capability, all on one printed circuit board. It can also accommodate up to four different sensor inputs.
Similarly, GreenPeak announced the Lime CM-08 module, a tiny 5 cm² electronic component that OEM customers can integrate into their products. The tiny module functions as a stand-alone communication system, integrating a transmitter/receiver, antenna, and low-power mesh network software on a single device.
And there were still more Wireless providers at ISA EXPO that I didn’t get around to visiting. There is no doubt that wireless was the buzz last week. With today’s existing wireless technologies, end users now have the ability to monitor and control sensors and systems without the expense of hard-wire costs. The applications are literally endless. There is no doubt in my mind that wireless technologies will continue to be adopted rapidly by suppliers and users alike. For the sake of users, let’s just hope the ISA-SP100 standard is formalized sooner rather than later.
Enjoy the rest of this Automation Weekly!
Vice President, Publisher