Action is heating up in the arena for products based on the WirelessHart standard for industrial wireless sensor networking.
Two of the latest announcements came on May 11. Dust Networks Inc., (www.dustnetworks.com), a Hayward, Calif.-based supplier of standards-based wireless networking products, said that its WirelessHart sensor networking technology would be used in a new product family to be introduced by automation supplier Phoenix Contact Inc. (www.phoenixcontact.com) Middletown, Pa., at Achema—a chemical engineering and process industries event held in Frankfurt, Germany. Meanwhile, Emerson Process Management (www.emersonprocess.com), Austin, Texas, announced that it has added discrete switches as well as vibration and pH transmitters to the already wide range of components available in its Smart Wireless field starter kit, which is based on WirelessHart technology.
David Skelton, vice president of the Americas Business Unit for Phoenix Contact, said that the new products introduced by his company will provide customers with highly reliable WirelessHart Infrastructure solutions to monitor and validate critical processes in a range of industries, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, industrial, commercial, petrochemical and power generation.
For its part, Emerson said that hundreds of its customers across all industries have implemented Smart Wireless, which allows them to touch plant areas that had previously been financially or physically impossible to reach with conventional, hard-wired devices. Wireless helps them collect new predictive intelligence data to protect assets, improve process monitoring and control, and boost health, safety and environmental compliance.
The company’s Smart Wireless starter kit “makes it very simple and low risk to try Smart Wireless,” said Bob Karschnia, vice president of wireless technology at Emerson. “Companies who’ve never used this technology before can quickly and easily begin to reap the same benefits gained by their peers who are already using Smart Wireless.”
The May 11 announcements came on the heels of a number of other WirelessHart product announcements. MacTek Corp. (www.mactekcorp.com), Gates Mills, Ohio, for example, announced in April that its newly developed Bullet WirelessHart Adapter will be available in a general purpose non-certified model for use in non-hazardous areas in October 2009. The certified IS and Ex-proof model will be available after obtaining international agency approvals, the company added, with shipment expected to start early first quarter of 2010.
Similarly, Pepperl+Fuchs (www.pepperl-fuchs.com), Twinsburg, Ohio, another automation components supplier, rolled out its first WirelessHart-enabled products in April at the Hanover Fair. Introductions included a robust WirelessHart gateway designed for the demanding operating conditions typical of the process industry, a WirelessHart adapter designed to add wireless functionality to most conventional field devices, as well as a self-contained WirelessHart temperature sensor.
Other vendors that have recently announced WirelessHart-enabled products include ABB, Elpro Technologies and Endress+Hauser.
Dust Networks Inc.
Emerson Process Management
Phoenix Contact Inc.