Wireless-networked Automation

Wireless technologies offer several decisive advantages over wired solutions for the data exchange between automated systems in industry or in buildings. The elimination of cabling enables wireless nodes to be positioned in a flexible and cost-effective manner. This makes it possible to widen the area of application. Thus, wireless systems are used, among other things, to establish data links between mobile or remote system components or machines. Additionally, existing automation systems can be retrofitted cost-effectively with additional sensors and actuators by using wireless technologies.

Automatisiertes Lager mit fahrerlosem Transportsystem
© Photo Moreno Soppelsa / Fotolia.com

Automated warehouse with autonomous transportation system

Wireless communication solutions are just as capable of meeting high specifications in terms of reliability and robustness as are wired variants. However, a number of aspects must be taken into consideration – both during their planning and integration and during their operation. Since most standard technologies deployed in an industrial setting share the same license-exempt frequency bands, such systems must be installed so as to prevent mutual interference among different wireless devices. This is further compounded by the difficult environmental conditions caused by the numerous metal objects with which wireless systems are confronted in an industrial setting and which can interfere with transmission. Therefore, it is necessary to identify and eliminate actual or potential sources of interference in a timely manner.

For this reason, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS offers a variety of services to support enterprises in the planning and secure operation of wireless-networked automation solutions or in analyzing interferences within those systems. This involves answering the following questions:

  • What radio conditions prevail in the vicinity of the system? Does coexistence with neighboring wireless networks cause problems in terms of transmission behavior?
  • How reliable is the wireless system already installed?
  • How robust is the wireless system? Are the transmission reserves sufficient for a reliable operation?
  • Do interferences occur in the wireless system from time to time? If so, what causes these interferences?