Wireless I/O Module Saves Time

June 17, 2009
Simatic ET 200pro IWLAN Saves Significant Communication Cabling and Installation Costs

Remote control in many discrete manufacturing operations can’t be realized via wired communications because of the nature of the operation or the prohibitive cost of installing a wire-line network. A variety of material-handling applications, including conveyors, cranes, assembly and packaging equipment, automated guided vehicles and warehouse logistic equipment, as well as rotating equipment, come to mind.

Siemens Energy & Automation has a plan to help with that. The company says its new Simatic ET 200pro IWLAN saves significant communication cabling and installation costs by delivering wireless connectivity from any distributed I/O station.

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“It’s compatible with Siemens’ complete line of ET 200pro I/O and specialty modules, and the rugged IP67-rated IWLAN interface can be mounted directly on a machine, eliminating the need for installation inside an electrical enclosure,” says Andreas Czech, Siemens discrete automation product manager.

Based on IEEE 802.11 WLAN standards, the wireless design supports deterministic iPCF (industrial point coordination function) for critical industrial Ethernet communications using standard Profinet. “This reliable, wireless I/O connectivity allows access to machines and process systems that previously could not be reached using a cabled network,” says Czech.

Machine-mount I/O users already benefit from reduced hardwiring and design costs plus the ability to locate I/O closer to connected devices with just a single communication cable back to a host controller for a variety of equipment applications. “Only recently has machine-mount I/O included a more complete line of devices beyond standard I/O signals, including motor starter modules, small horsepower drives, and safety-rated I/O,” adds Czech. “The ET 200pro IWLAN interface takes the already broad range of Simatic machine-mount I/O to a new level of capability with its wireless connectivity. By eliminating the connection to a communications cable, automation designers can be more creative and cost-conscious when implementing distributed I/O. Additionally, they can further enhance their modular manufacturing practices by using wireless I/O to reduce startup times after changeovers, eliminating the need to maintain communication cable connections.”

The ET 200pro IWLAN includes a complete wireless network interface with removable antenna-interface unit, standard ET 200pro connection unit for adding modular I/O devices, diagnostic LEDs and a built-in Ethernet port for local programming or network troubleshooting. An industry-standard 7/8-in. plug-in connector provides the power connection and each ET 200pro station can be vertically or horizontally installed without restrictions. Optional antennas including omnidirectional antennas are available for direct or remote mounting and higher-gain signal transmission over longer distances or through obstructions.

“The wireless radio frequency is selectable for either standard, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, and includes support for IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/h/e/i transmission standards,” states Czech. “The maximum wireless data transmission rate is 54 Mbps with a typical send cycle of 32 msec.”

The company says each ET 200pro IWLAN includes a built-in Web server with HTML pages for editing configurations, setting security access and viewing diagnostic information. “Separate configuration software is not required,” explains Czech. “This enables easy access to each ET 200pro IWLAN through a secure Ethernet access point connection over the LAN or Internet/intranet.”

The ET 200pro IWLAN has built-in compatibility to all Siemens Scalance-W wireless access points for easy networking to host controllers, industrial PCs or programming terminals, adds Czech, noting it also supports rapid-roaming capability for moving equipment between multiple wireless access point ranges without interruption.

ET 200pro IWLAN products have an IP67 case certified with industry standard approvals including cUL US, CSA and CE compliance.