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ABB’s wireless pad makes wireless automation in factories a WISA choice

18 July 2006

ABB has introduced a wireless IO pad, simplifying the process of transmitting and receiving data via a central control system for complex automated applications in factories. The Wireless Input/Output Pad (WIOP) forms part of ABB’s range of tools used to create a factory environment where automated machines can be operated wirelessly.

The pad has a total of eight inputs and eight configurable input/outputs, which are connected to conventional wired sensors and actuators using short cables, greatly reducing the amount of communicating wires required for factory machinery.

Communication is performed between the machine’s control system and the IO pad via WISA-com; ABB’s software interface that manages all wireless communications. The control system is connected to the input/output module WDIO100 via a fieldbus. Two duplex antennas connected to the IO module receive all radio communications to and from the sensor/actuator distributors, as well as from all wireless proximity switches within the machine. This way, only a 24V DC supply is required to each WIOP100 wireless pad.

The WIOP100 pad reduces installation time used to make tool changes or for upgrading, as signal connections do not need to be cut. Following any tool changes to machinery, the IO pad becomes operational as soon as the supply voltage is re-established.

By using a 2.4 Ghz bandwidth, the WIOP100 reduces service interruptions. It is unaffected by typical sources of interference within an industrial environment, such as other wi-fi services or radio frequencies.

The WIOP100 is highly versatile, it can be used in many different processes and applications such as monitoring and controlling turntables for robotics and handling applications, in production lines with decentralised sensors and actuators, and for assembly machines where frequent tool changes are required, amongst other uses.

The WIOP100 is used as part of ABB’s WISA family of wireless products. WISA, or Wireless Interface to Sensors and Actuators, has been developed by ABB to enable real-time factory automation at the field device level and is based on standard low cost hardware. It is comprised of three elements; WISA-com, WISA-power and WISA-sensor.

WISA-com is the wireless communication interface which provides the link between the sensor and an input module or base station. It has been specifically designed to ensure a short response time and maximum use of available radio bandwidth in applications with large numbers of sensors.

WISA-power uses magnetic coupling technology to generate power to operate WISA products.

WISA-sensor provides the interface between the communication module and the sensor head. It specifies the power budget and sets the supply voltage level and the signal frequencies that can be used.

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