Factory Automation
Batch Processing
Process Automation
Packaging Automation
On the Edge
Factory & Machine Automation Playbook cover
This one-of-a-kind Factory Automation Playbook is packed with best practices, practical tips and pitfalls to avoid on a wide range of topics, from defining project objectives to selecting components to implementing technologies that can make your automated systems smarter and more productive.


Feature Article

Where the Wireless Networks Aren’t

Print Reprint
FILED IN:  Wireless
Wireless may be one of those technologies whose wide applicability range takes it seemingly everywhere. But there remain some aspects of automation for which wireless sensors networks are not the best option. At least not yet.

In high-speed loops, such as those used for flow and pressure control, battery-powered wireless instruments must balance battery life and data update rates. In cases where battery life is expected to exceed five years, a data update period of 60 seconds may be required. Gareth Johnston, global wireless product manager for ABB, says such a relatively slow update period is not compatible with high-speed loops.

Machine control is not so hot for wireless, says Steve Toteda, vice president and general manager of the wireless business unit at Cooper Industries ( and chairman of the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA). “A lot of people have looked at this, but machine controls have a different set of characteristics for which wireless is not as well suited in most cases.” He adds, however, that using wireless to interconnect machines is a perfect application for the technology.


PID control. According to Johnston, trials are currently being conducted for PID control where wireless loops are involved. As with the high-speed loop issue, the PID applications are also limited by the battery life/update period balance. Despite this issue, he expects PID loops to include wireless instruments in the near future.

>> Click here to read Automation World's complete coverage on Wireless Sensor Networks: Why Wireless Sensor Networks are Everywhere (Almost)

FILED IN: Wireless


Don't miss intelligence crucial to your job and business!
Click on any newsletter to view a sample. Enter your email address below to sign up!
Each newsletter ranges in frequency from once per month to a few times per month at most.
IT Delivers on Automation’s Promise
E-Book Special Report
IT Delivers on Automation’s Promise

Sign up to receive timely updates from the editors at Automation World and download this FREE Special Report on the transformative power of data in manufacturing. By integrating information and automation technologies, manufacturers are finally achieving major gains in productivity from their automated systems.