To improve efficiency and remote management on the CNC shop floor, industrial networking is required from both device level and infrastructure level. Implementing an industrial serial device server can replace the front-end PC, eliminate manual monitoring processes, and provide remote management. A Virtual COM Driver, provided with most serial device servers today, can provide continued use of existing application software found on the shop floor.
The latest generation of machine vision systems offer substantial improvements by providing Ethernet connectivity and tools to communicate directly with PLCs, robot controllers, PCs and human machine interfaces (HMIs). However, there is still serial-based equipment such as sensors and readers that are not easily networked. Also, production processes may need to network multiple machine vision systems together to distribute images throughout the production line for product quality and consistency. Therefore, building an industrial network infrastructure will increase flexibility, scalability, and reliability in harsh environments for the production line to allow mixed-model processing within machine vision systems.
Food and Beverage
Nowadays equipment suppliers are providing new Ethernet-based equipment and IP based application software and no longer provide further support for legacy serial-based devices. With this mixture of serial and Ethernet based equipment, it is difficult to monitor production processes. A serial-to-Ethernet device server can provide Real COM drivers or socket tunneling for legacy equipment connection in TCP/IP format. A reliable Ethernet network has become a critical part of a bottling plant’s infrastructure, due to harsh environments. Industrial managed Ethernet switches with fiber-optic solutions can be used to overcome this concern, because of their reliability, long lasting industrial grade design, and data transmission immunity. Layer 2 managed switches with data routing software can also increase the determinism of a bottling plant’s control network. A built-in ring redundancy feature eliminates any downtime concerns, and event handling software functions can send out alert emails to improve real-time monitoring and management.
It is critical for manufacturers to implement a proficient network, because most material handling systems, machines, and equipment come with mixed communication interfaces, stand-alone processes, and are not efficiently networked. For example, AS/RS systems rely on a networked front-end computer terminal for status reports, and it is difficult for a control room to monitor field device status if downtime occurs. A serial-to-Ethernet device server can be networked instantly with field legacy equipment to improve the efficiency and real-time monitoring. Due to the scope of the material handling facility, PoE or IP-based video cameras can be networked for safety and real-time process monitoring. Network downtime is also a major concern for process data exchange. A redundant ring network provides fast network recovery if any unexpected link failure occurs.
Each local process section in the pulp & paper industry is still integrated with a large amount of legacy serial-based equipment that is unequipped for an Ethernet network. In order to provide networking capability, an industrial serial device server can convert serial data into TCP/IP data to transmit through the Ethernet network.