Benefits of wireless in automation safety

After years of suspicion, end-users are increasingly recognising the benefits of integrating wireless automation safety technologies to their industrial automation processes. According to Schneider Electric, the benefits of wireless technology in safety applications are numerous. In addition to improving safety of operators, there are also advantages in efficiency, cost, installation time and diagnostics.

 

Operator mobility and safety

Rather than needing to control and monitor an application in close proximity, wireless remote control systems allow operators to distance themselves from the hazard, whilst maintaining close local control. An example would be a crane or hoist used to transport heavy equipment in a factory. With a range of up to 50 meters, operators can safely distance themselves from the load, but retain a good view of potential hazards.

In this instance, the flexibility of being mobile is also an advantage in terms of efficiency. The ability to move freely without cabling, allows the operator to work more quickly and with greater perspective. The remote control device can display crane diagnostics and preventive maintenance data without moving from the shop floor. This helps improve overall efficiency and productivity by preventing downtime and better managing asset performance.

 

INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE

With wired control devices, the cabling of the control station accounts for 15% of the installation cost. Users must also consider the environment of the application, especially where cabling could be damaged or a hazard to others. The replacement time and maintenance of damaged cabling can result in machinery being down for prolonged periods.

Using  wireless in automation safety control system significantly reduces installation and commissioning times. The ability to quickly swap remote control devices also improves maintenance and lifecycle management. It is also simple to pair replacement controllers with the system, even at a distance from the crane’s base station.

Maintaining and monitoring applications is key to ensuring operator safety. Smart machines are promoting greater efficiency, reducing downtime and increasing flexibility: wireless remote-control systems play their part through diagnostics.

The operator sets system parameters and alarms. This ensures the safety of factory floor personnel and prevent damage to the installation. It improves resource planning and avoids unnecessary downtime or waste.

When considering wireless in automation safety versus wired solutions, users must consider their specific applications and determine which solution will best fit their requirement. Safety needs to be the primary concern, but this doesn’t need to be the only focus. In addition to providing a safe working environment, a wireless remote control system can also improve uptime; reducing the cost and time needed for installation and increasing operator effectiveness.

Go here for Schneider Electric’s white paper “Wireless Technology-Changing the face of safety applications

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