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Wireless enabled stacking beacons

26 January 2011

Low power wireless specialist IDC is providing improved, cable-less machine monitoring and enhanced safeguarding with its new range of wireless-enabled stacking beacons. Simple to install and operate, the new beacons integrate IDC’s ZB100 system-on-a–chip, allowing central machine monitoring of all machine types, existing and new, including those that for reasons of cabling complexity were previously considered impossible to network.

IDC’s wireless stacking beacons are manufactured by DG Controls Ltd (Deegee). Each Deegee lamp stack has an intermediate section, and this is fitted with the ZB100 OEM module. This simple fitment means that any standard Deegee lamp stack can be “wireless enabled” using the IDC module.

The ZB100 OEM module offers links for two operating modes. The first enables the state of the beacon lamps to be monitored over the wireless network to wireless Gateway, which is connected to a central PC using standard Ethernet or USB connection. This mode is intended for machinery control systems using existing signal towers installed by conventional cabling. Simply by installing a wireless module to each beacon stack, the beacons can report the state of each lamp over the wireless network to immediately notify plant supervisors of problems. In addition to machine status, IDC’s PC software can also provide real time analysis of the plant for management and maintenance departments.

The second operational mode enables the lamp stack to be controlled over the wireless network, eliminating the requirement for hard wiring from the machine controller - usually a dedicated proprietary control unit or a PLC. In the case of dedicated controllers, IDC provides wireless interfaces from its Gateway using industry standard Modbus/Zigbee protocol converters for serial drivers; or OPC/Zigbee for Ethernet connectivity. In addition, IDC also offers interaction with its other Zigbee products, such as push buttons and wireless PLCs, for complete system- wide interaction.

The wireless network upon which the ZB100 operates is the 2.4GHz, licence- free IEEE 802.15.4 international standard; this provides secure, redundant two- way communications up to 100m between nodes, with network extension using routing over multiple nodes for longer distances.

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