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Examples of Wireless Serial Modem Applications

The SRM serial radio modem offers the highest level of reliability and performance for wireless serial data transmission and is ideal for both short- and long-range applications in the harshest of industrial environments.

Installation is quick and inexpensive because no site license is required and because costly RF site surveys are usually not necessary.

The SRM radio modem operates both point-to-point and multi-point which permits virtually an unlimited number of Remotes. It can function as a reapeater to extend range or work around obstructions. A Remote/Repeater mode allows a Remote location, such as a water tank, to function as a Repeater and support an RTU.

Below are some examples of applications that utilize the features and benefits of this secure, ultra-reliable data communication product.

For detailed information read "Selecting a Radio Modem Technology for Industrial Automation Applications" that appeared in Instrumentation & Control Systems Magazine.

Food/Beverage

Brewery Crane Control

Miller Brewing uses Data-Linc SRM6000 Radio Modems (no site license required) for crane control communicating between a Modicon 984 Master and Modicon Compact 984 Remote units running Modbus ASCII on the Modbus Port.

Light Industry

Sports— America's Cup

The two most recent Americas Cup sailboat competitions won by New Zealand used the Data-Linc SRM6000 radio modems to transmit critical boat parameters from the yachts.

Sports— Hydroplane Racing

The Pico American Dream and Budweiser hydroplanes took first and second place in the national ranking of hydroplane racing in 1996. Both racing teams selected use Data-Linc SRM6000 radio modems to transmit data to the pits from their boats, measuring engine performance and other critical parameters during operation of the hydroplane in trial runs and under high speed racing conditions. The vibration environment over water at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour is particularly severe and on windy days the damage done to cockpit instruments and other on-board equipment is significant. During initial evaluation of the SRM6000 radio modems, considerable concern was expressed as to the viability of these units when subjected to vibration levels capable of shattering instruments designed to withstand such conditions. The Data-Linc radio modems have proven themselves and none have failed in spite of encountering the very high levels of vibration and humidity. Read the complete article.

Sports— Scrolling Signs

In Seattle, a local integrator used multiple Data-Linc Group SRM6000 spread spectrum wireless modems to control and operate unique scrolling signs in an unusual application which encountered numerous challenges. As many as 60 of these 3 x 14 ft. signs, located around the edge of the field and overhead for maximum exposure, scroll individually and together to advertise products with timed intervals. The signs are linked to a Master controller with hardwired electrical interconnections for programming, and control.

In the past, this interconnection has been from the signs to a large PC/PLC controller and operator-interface located near the press box. This has been the only location from which the signs could be reprogrammed and controlled during critical periods of the game or event. The new control scheme includes a wireless stand-alone touch screen operator control console linked to a wireless motion controller module using a stepper motor and controller in each sign. This combination of technologies allows all signs to communicate via the wireless radio modems and allows the operator to use his touch screen operator interface to control and program the scrolling signs. Operation can be performed from anywhere in the arena or stadium without hours of wiring and debugging signs and controls connections.

Material Handling

Crane Control

Data-Linc license-free SRM6000 Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum Radio Modems, operating in the 902-928 MHz license free band, transmit data between a PC and an Allen-Bradley PLC-5/30 Processor with RS-422 interface for crane control at Armstrong World Industries.

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Mining

Open Pit Mine

A large open pit mine is using the Data-Linc Group Ethernet radio modem with external antennas to communicate between a Master base unit at the server (Ethernet Hub) and an NEC laptop computer (remote unit) running Windows 95 and 3 Com Ethernet with PCM/CIA support.

Since the remote unit is mobile and could at times not have full line-of-sight to the Master a Data-Linc Group SRM6000 Radio Modem with an external antenna mounted at a central location is used as a Repeater to support the system. The remote, unit mounted in a pick-up truck, is able to travel to various locations within the open pit mine while maintaining communications with the Master.

The Data-Linc Radio Modems are providing reliable communications in this mine application even during periods of extremely cold temperatures.

Ore Processing

The Kennecott Copperton Concentrator is located 18 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah. It is designed to process ore from the Bingham Canyon Copper mine at a rate of 117,000 tons per day. Ore is delivered from the mine to the Copperton stockpile by a five mile seventy two inch belt conveyor. Waste material is deposited in a tailings settling pond. The waste water is then recovered and pumped back to the plant for reuse. Due to evaporation and absorption it is necessary to obtain replacement water. Deep well pump stations are located approximately three miles from the deep well booster pump station. Control and monitoring between the deep wells and the booster pump station had been communicated over leased telephone lines and a radio modem, of another manufacture, as a backup. Kennecott monitors pump run/stop status, pump vibration, motor amps, and pump station output pressure and flows. Neither of these communication links had proven to be reliable. The installation is a line of site application with a number of high voltage lines in the path which might have contributed to the problems with other radio modems evaluated. In mid 1996, Data-Linc SRM6000 frequency hopping spread spectrum radio modems were installed using standard omni directional antennas. This radio system has proven to be reliable and the Data-Linc SRM6000 is now the primary communication link with the leased telephone line as backup.

Water Treatment

In the Val d'Or gold mining area in northern Quebec, operating temperature requirements can be particularly severe. Data-Linc modems, such as its license free radio and dial-up/leased line modems, have been specially designed to withstand broad temperature extremes of at least -40 to +75 degrees centigrade. La Mine Doyon in Quebec selected Data-Linc SRM6000 serial radio modems not only for their superior reliability and performance but also for the extended temperature range specifications in an installation requiring data acquisition and control for water treatment of mine tailings. Data is transmitted to a Master Modicon Compact 984 PLC through a PC running SCADA software from a GE Fanuc PLC. A Modicon Bridge Mux is used to translate from Modbus Plus to Modbus protocol for connection to a Data-Linc SRM6000 Master radio modem which communicates with eight Remote radios connected to Modicon Compact 145 and Micro 612 processors. An external antenna is used to ensure line of site transmission over a hill at a distance of 2.5 miles.

Oil/Gas/Petrochemical

Off-shore Oil Facility

Phil Szajnuk of Equipment and Controls, the Fisher-Rosemount Distributor in Pittsburgh, originally tested three SRM6000 license-free radio modems and the Data-Linc DD/AA1000 multiplexers (Operating temperature range for radios and multiplexers is -40° to 167°F; -40° to +75°C) with a Fisher Master/Remote ROC System. Both ease of installation and performance were flawless. The current application is for an eight radio system, utilizing the SRM6100 license-free 2.4-2.4835 GHz version for PC to ROC communications at an off shore oil facility in Nigeria.

Oil Platform

Data is transmitted between two oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico where previous radio modems had failed to deliver error free communications. Data -Linc's SRM6000 Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum Radio Modems are transmitting data over 8 miles between Allen-Bradley SLC 5/03 Processors in a particularly high interference environment.

Oil Refinery

SCADA application at the Tosco Oil Refinery in Ferndale, Washington utilizing Data-Linc SRM6000 Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum Radio Modems (no site license required) to provide long range data transmission between the blend control room, utilizing a Siemens 545 Simatic Processor, and Siemens S-7 Micro Processors at multiple remote sites monitoring and controlling valve position and pump on/off status at the storage tanks. The TI545 was connected to the existing DCS, using MODBUS protocol, to provide control from console screens. Normally, this would have required wiring each device for multiple digital I/O points at a cost of $130,000. Instead, at each general grouping of tanks, a Data-Linc SRM6000 spread spectrum radio modem was connected to the Siemens S7-200 PLC, permitting direct connection to the pump and valve wiring, saving $90,000 while also preserving future expansion into areas previously uneconomical to reach. Get more details about this project.

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Power/Utility

Coal Un-load System

RF modems transmit data between central control and ship-side coal unload machines 350-500 meters away
Mounted antenna (in forground) allows modems to transmit data between central control and ship-side coal unload machines 350-500 meters away.
In the revamping of a power generation plant's coal-unload system in China, a Modicon-987/785E PLC and supervisor PC provide the control and monitoring while an OMRON PLC operates in the unload machine driver room. Ten mobile coal-unloaded machines work on ships during the coal handling process. Since 1996 coal-unload machines communicated with the control room through a slide wire with limited data transfer. Not only was data communication limited, but the slide wire was costly, difficult to maintain requiring continual maintenance for optimal performance. The revamped system utilizes Data-Linc's SRM6100 2.4 GHz band serial radio modems which eliminate the need for costly slide wire.

wireless serial RF modem
SRM6100 wall mount in plant control room
Since the update, the operator can read the parameters, movements and operations of the individual remote coal-unload machines and send control commands to them. Maintenance personnel in the control room can change the program on the remote PLC at the unload machine; additional PCs in the control room can share data from the unload machines; the PLCs have the capability to receive control and program commands from the control room; and if the primary PC (PC1) has problems, a switching circuit switches the SRM6100 wireless modem to another PC, ensuring the RF communication between control room and coal-unload machines.

Pulp and Paper

Clarifying Tank

Data-Linc SRM6000 license-free radio modems were installed with Fisher-Rosemount ROC and DeltaV equipment in a typical installation involving a clarifier tank with a rotating bridge at a large international pulp & paper company. Previously, proper operation was verified by visual inspection which resulted in unnoticed failures with lost production. The new monitoring system allowed plant operators to react quickly to problems at the clarifier preventing production losses. The system paid for itself when after only four weeks of flawless data communication, it caught a failure and prevented an interruption in production. Additionally, the trending of motor torque, water temperature and level has provided operating insight and improved process efficiency.

Security

Video

Data-Linc Group's license-free wireless serial modem installations support the demanding needs of video data transfer and have been installed as part of the security systems at government research facilities and private chemical plants, for example. Because Data-Linc's wireless serial modems can transmit data up to 20 miles line of site (farther with Repeaters or directional antenna) and because they provide an exceptional level of data integrity and security, the Data-Linc modems have been the choice for data transmission in critical areas for private industry and government installations. For information on compatible video vendors or for questions about your specific application, email info@data-linc.com or contact one of our application engineers at 425-882-2206 Pacific Coast Time.

Transportation

Railroad— Rail Switch Stands*

The Data-Linc SRM6000 Radio Modems were chosen for license-free operation, positive visual feedback/status confirmation, high performance, long-range and simple operation. The system provides:

  • Operation in license-free 902-928 MHz band
  • High level of security that prevents unauthorized external access
  • Visual status indicators of all switch positions
  • Reliable communication in high interference conditions
  • Excellent transmission in rail yard environments- even between railcars
  • Push button controls that can be operated while wearing gloves
  • Extended operating temperature of -40° to 167°F (-40° to +75°C).

*This system was codeveloped with FGR Automation, Inc. for control of
the Railway Technology, Inc. Hydra-Switch.

Shipping— Tug to Barge Communication

Two of Data-Linc's license-free wireless modems are part of a system that provides data communication between a tug and its barge in the Gulf of Mexico. The control console in the bridge on the tug is connected to a PLC which interfaces with Data-Linc's license-free SRM6000 radio modem. The control and feedback signals are transmitted between the SRM6000 via omni directional antenna on the tug to a second SRM6000 with an omni directional antenna connected to another PLC on the barge allowing the tug to control lighting and other devises. The SRM6000 radio modems transmit data from the PLC to provide input and consolidation of command console inputs for the control.

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Water/Wastewater

Water Pump Stations

An SRM6000 installed on a water tank facilitates communication with the tank's PLC and act as a Repeater for communications with the pump stations. The popular spread spectrum radio modem supports simultaneous Remote and Repeater operation and enables the Remote location to also serve as a Repeater for communications with other remote Remotes. This simplifies the radio modem system design and reduces costs because one modem will do the work of two or, in some cases, even three modems. The SRM6000 invokes a "store and forward" operation in which the data received is passed to the Remote device (such as an RTU) and also transmitted to other remote Remote modems. The modem is field configurable to function as a Master, Remote, Repeater or a Remote/Repeater.The SRM6000 is also being used in applications such as water/wastewater systems and oil/gas pipelines in which an ideal Repeater location often coincidentally includes a Remote device that can greatly benefit from this "store and forward" feature.

Water Treatment Plant

Camrosa Water District in California installed Data-Linc SRM6000 radio modems to serve as Masters at its central office, splitting its east and west remote locations between two serial ports on the Master HMI PC to speed communications. Because the office is situated in a valley, Camrosa also installed four SRM6000s, which use Smart SpectrumTM frequency hopping technology, to act as Repeaters to negotiate obstructions and maintain connectivity with all modems throughout the hilly terrain. Next, the District began installing SRM6000s at each of its remote locations one at a time over a year and a half span- systematically replacing each RTU and eliminating the phone lines.

In spite of some concern in the industry that the 902-908 MHz spread spectrum employed by the SRM6000 is becoming over saturated, Camrosa has never experienced any problems- and the district is located near a military base which generates a tremendous amount of RF. Two years after the new HMI has been up and running, the HMI has greatly enhanced data communication reliability and increased system operating efficiency, plus it has eliminated all phone line charges and reduced labor costs." Read the complete article.

Water Treatment Plant SCADA System

Data-Linc Group and the City of St. Augustine have collaborated on a Water Treatment SCADA System. The system consists of a single wireless license-free SRM6000 Master radio modem connected to HMI workstations and RTUs with Allen-Bradley Micrologix PLCs and SRM6000 modems. The RTUs serve a remote well field with 12 wells that are approximately 8 miles away, 10 sewage lift stations scattered throughout the city limits and a potable water re-pump station on the South side of town.

In the well sites' configuration, the Master SRM6000 communicates with the Allen-Bradley 1770KF-3 modules, which in turn communicate with the 12 Micrologix PLCs over an 18,000 foot fiber optic network. All lift stations use SRM6000 radio modems connected directly to Micrologix PLCs and the water re-pump station uses an SRM6000 with a SLC 5/03 PLC. The driver used is Allen-Bradley's RSLinx DFI Polling Master. The system runs at 19,200 baud rate. The HMI system provides monitoring and control of all remotes to operators at a Central Utilities building and Water Treatment Plant.

Future plans include coupling the Master radio to a 2.4 GHz wireless WAN to further extend access to the remote sites. One of the features that is most useful is the ability to remotely monitor and program any of the PLCs over radio using Allen-Bradley's RSLogix programming software from the host workstation. This SCADA system succeeds two previously installed radio systems, neither of which operated acceptably. (See schematic)

Water Wells Project

The Lauren Engineers and Constructors project involves connectivity with Allen-Bradley PLCs at 31 water wells and one gathering station for the LSP Mustang Generating Station near Denver City, Texas. The wells were scattered over a 2 mile by 6 mile area with a number of the sites obscured by rolling terrain. The Master station is located in the station's control building along with the MMI. In addition to the SRM6000 serial radio modems at each well and gathering unit, two SRM6000 Repeaters were incorporated to gain the necessary coverage.

Also see how Data-Linc SRM6000 radio modems interface with Horner Electric's OCS Modbus, Opto 22 and ABB automation equipment.

For more information or answers to questions about your project, contact Data-Linc via phone (425) 882-2206 Pacific Coast Time, fax (425) 867-0865 or email info@data-linc.com.

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