The “Wireless Wars” are mostly over, now. Thankfully. While the standards were under development, companies and people took sides. The acrimony had a personal cost for many. A few companies continue to support the ISA100 industrial wireless sensor network standard. Many support the WirelessHART standard. Many are developing gateways and adaptors to allow plant systems to include both within the overall plant automation system.
Yokogawa Electric Corp. (probably the major supporter of ISA100) announced a multi-protocol wireless adaptor that enables wired field instruments or analytical sensors to be used as ISA100 Wireless devices, and will release models in May and July that support communications based on the HART and RS485 Modbus standards. To facilitate the introduction of field wireless systems in plants, Yokogawa plans to release additional models that will cover other standards.
Field wireless systems enable the field devices and the host-level monitoring, control, and other systems in a plant to communicate wirelessly with each other. Yokogawa’s release recounts wireless advantages such as allowing the placement of field instruments or analytical sensors in difficult to wire locations, eliminating the need for cables to connect devices, and costing less to install. In accordance with its Wireless Anywhere concept, Yokogawa is seeking to promote the plant-wide use of field wireless systems by developing ISA100 Wireless devices such as this multi-protocol wireless adaptor.
When the multi-protocol wireless adaptor is mounted on a wired field instrument or analytical sensor, the instrument or sensor is able to function as an ISA100 Wireless device. It may be used with any type of wired field instrument or analytical sensor commonly used in plants, including those used to monitor temperature, pressure, liquid level, or vibration, or to detect gas and is compatible with both Yokogawa devices and devices from other vendors. By giving customers a greater range of field instruments and analytical sensors to choose from, Yokogawa expects that this multi-protocol wireless adaptor will greatly facilitate the introduction of field wireless systems.
Following release of support for the ISA100 standard, the next two will support HART and RS485 Modbus. Planned for the future are support for Foundation Fieldbus and Profibus.