This wireless technology essay assignment helps to know the role of wireless technology in IT sector with its applications.
Wireless Technology – Introduction
Wireless technology has made a significant presence in the booming IT sector over the past few years. The same technology can be applied suitably in the industrial control networks. Common wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be utilized on the factory floor to provide solutions with high ROI for diagnostics, control and safety.
However, the difference in the operations of an IT and industrial domains pose a challenge in the application of wireless technology in the industrial domain. It is of utmost importance to first understand this difference before utilizing the wireless solutions developed for Information Technology assignment applications, as replacements for wired systems in the time critical scenarios on the shop floors.
There have been many implementations of wireless technology assignment in the production system on the shop floor, and most of them support only the lower level applications that require polling frequencies on the order of seconds or longer. However, the fundamental protocols of the wireless technology allow support to higher level and higher speed applications such as motion control and closed loop distributed logic, which still pose some challenge in their implementation in the industrial scenario. To address the challenges faced in implementation of wireless technology for higher level applications, following issues must be addressed in the wireless technology for manufacturing-
- Determine the performance of Wireless technology in terms of data rate, transmission jitters and link reliability
- Identify and develop best practices for wireless solution deployment and maintenance
- Develop standardized test plans across industries
- Implement standardized device testing , including automated performance bench marking
- Develop performance specifications , representing the requirements of an industrial control system
- Develop a test plan in partnership with an industry that parameters wireless devices and networks
- Develop and document standardized procedures for implementation of wireless controls, diagnostics and safety systems.
Wireless Network Control Simulator-
The performance of a network when using wireless interfaces can be simulated by a system scale simulator, which is currently under development. The performance measures include access and processing delays, Sampling rate, system bandwidth, failure modes, fault tolerance and robustness. The simulator currently provides simulation of delays related to-
- Protocol stack and data processing
- Multi-node access and arbitration
- Interference and error recovery
This simulator can be further extended to include the other mentioned performance measures of wireless control systems, and also incorporate experimental analysis.
Tools for Wireless layout planning-
- Radio- Adds a dimension to the cell layout design by considering radio coverage area or beam footprint of the base station antenna and all other sensors
- Simulation tool- To predict radio coverage of non conventional radio feeders like the leaky coax. It can also overlay existing layout to find trouble spots as weak fields, shadow zones, scattering interference and leakages.
Implementation of wireless technology to the industrial operations has proved to be capable of providing a valuable addition to improving the operational efficiency. Many organizations, who work on critical precision technology are constantly looking for new and easy options to have real time access to their plant environment and processed. Continuous upgrading and expansion of wireless technology over the past few decades have brought about a revolution in implementation of wireless sensor networks in the industry. Few major sectors and processes benefiting from this revolution are the Oil and gas, cold chain and monitoring of machine health.
The Oil and Gas industry employs many complex operations and technical inputs from the very beginning of the process of extraction of crude oil till the end of refining the oil. The industry has switched to use of wireless networks for communication throughout the complex operating processes.
The conventional methods of monitoring manufacturing operations required the engineers and technicians on the shop floor to constantly keep an eye on the machine processing and update the systems manually to prepare the status report. This method comes out to be both costly and time consuming. Moreover, any problem that occurs may not be detected at the right time, to prevent further damages. Use of wireless technology can help optimize manufacturing processes. Real time monitoring using wireless technology can help to identify bottlenecks in the process and also save cost by exempting non critical parts from strict monitoring (Sha et al, 2000).Wireless sensor technology also helps in identifying any problems and bottlenecks at the appropriate stages of production and thus any measure for damage control can be taken at the right time.
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Another critical activity in Oil and Gas industry is the inspection of activities by an inspection officer. Using wireless technology can reduce the dependency on the inspection officer as any fluctuations in machine utilization rates, fuel consumption, machine health, output generated or wastes generated can be communicated to the control center instantly. This helps the organizations to take preventive actions against the problem by quick identification of problem areas and their cause. It also helps ensure safe and secure environment for workers and machinery on the shop floor.
Cold chain industry is also very sensitive in nature. It includes companies involved in manufacturing packaged food items, chemical and active ingredients and pharmaceutical products. They too require a very high and sophisticated level of monitoring from the manufacturing to the logistics of the products. In absence of proper cold chain facilities in the supply chain, the losses of finished goods can go as high as 5-10 percent of production, which in real terms can affect the entire profitability of the organization (Russell, 2008).
This industry requires a constant monitoring of production as well as storage environment to prevent losses. The required temperature is to be maintained under a strict protocol. Humidity levels have to be kept under constant check to save perishable finished goods from spoilage. If any of these conditions cease to be under desired levels, the companies can suffer losses of about millions of dollars per year, and rank low in their competitiveness in the market and profitability, hence lose their market share (Russell, 2008).
It is not only the profitability or the market share that drives the cold chain industry to constantly monitor the environment of their finished goods, but also the regulatory authorities governing the food and drug manufacturing practices in any region/country. These bodies follow strict rules and regulations, and impose heavy penalties on any defaulters, which can cause financial losses, ruin their brand image and put their license under consideration of revocation.
It should be noted that this industry works at temperatures that are not suitable for human interventions at all times, like cold storage , 0 percent humidity stores, hospitals with risk of contamination and cross infection, automated drug manufacturing facilities etc. In such a scenario, wireless technology can prove to be a boom. Sensors can be placed in the cold storage devices and similar places, which can collect information and send it across to the control room where a human manager can monitor the machines and prevent financial losses to the company. Managers can know when a machine stops operating under the desired levels, as the sensor throws an alert on the control system, and take preventive actions accordingly. Sensor technology also allows for automated recording of status of machines at all times, which can be presented to the regulatory bodies as an evidence of strictly abiding by their rules and regulations.
Sensor technology can also be used by the engineers in cold chain industry to examine the wear and tear of the machinery, moving parts like bearings etc. This breakdown of machinery can stop the production line for hours and cause financial losses to the company. Using sensor network technology in this area can help engineers monitor the wear and tear ratio of machine. Any change in the behavior of machines like vibrations or sounds can throw an alert on the control system for the engineers to know the exact problem area and take preventive actions against the problem. Any change in the temperature of the machine or the output of the machine can also be sensed by programming the desired levels in the sensor, and alarms can be raised in case of an inconsistent situation. This technology can thus prove to be very helpful in any industry in quick diagnosis of the problem on the shop floor or the supply chain and prevent the companies suffer from heavy financial losses.