Monday, 26 January 2015

Andy Preston, UK Drives Product Manager, ABB writes: Don’t you find things work better when they come in twos?

It’s only natural when you think about it - two arms, two hands, two eyes. They work together to get the job done. Without one or the other, we’d find it very difficult to get by in our daily lives.

This is why variable-speed drives with a single fieldbus channel just doesn’t seem right. Wouldn’t process control be much easier with two channels, complementing each other to get the job done?

After all, consider the two types of data we have circulating around the system. We have the control data to command the production process and the production data that tells us what is happening.

If all this data is trying to squeeze onto one network, the outlook doesn’t look good - the production data could slow the control system down, making it unresponsive, while the mass of data being collected could interrupt communication.

With two fieldbus routes, this problem would be solved. This is exactly what is included in ABB’s latest series of variable-speed drives, which offer two option slots for fieldbus modules.

These modules can be of different types, allowing, for example, a PROFIBUS module and an Ethernet module to be run at the same time.

This could transform the way you look at your process control - use the  PROFIBUS module to control a process, while the Ethernet module can be used to gather production data, such as statistics on how the system is behaving.

A two-port module makes Ethernet networks quick and easy to build, as the cable can be looped in then out as a daisy chain. This removes the need for an Ethernet switch to connect the drives onto the network. The two-port device also maintains communications when the drive is off.

Modbus, CanOpen, DeviceNet, EtherCat and PowerLink can all be used, while LonWorks and ControlNet are in the pipeline.

Simple and straightforward, this two for one offer is no double deal.

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