The reliable parallel operation of wireless radio systems in production plants is possible, based on studies carried out by the “Wireless in Automation” working group of the ZVEI (German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, www.zvei.org). The brochure “Coexistence of Wireless Systems in Automation Technology” published by the ZVEI, provides explanations on the factors that need to be taken into account.
Wireless systems such as wireless local area networks (WLANs) or Bluetooth have been used in the home and in the office for many years. They are also being used increasingly in the automation systems of plants and machines. However, the requirements on availability and interference immunity associated with such applications are often considerably higher in the industrial setting than in the home or office. For example, industrial applications may require defined response times with very high availability.
A number of electrical automation manufacturers therefore jointly investigated the topic of coexistence of wireless solutions in industrial applications under the umbrella of the ZVEI. For this purpose, ifak—Institut für Automation und Kommunikation e.V. Magdeburg—was asked to carry out extensive measurements; the update times of around 120 million packet transmissions were measured, processed and statistically evaluated in approximately 400 practical test cases.
The most important findings have been summarized in a brochure which explains the important characteristics for differentiating wireless systems, their behavior during parallel operation and measures for coexistence management. It makes users aware of why and how they should consider the topic of coexistence of wireless systems. Above all, the brochure shows how simple it is to avoid mutual wireless interference and to implement interference-free parallel operation.