Friday, August 25, 2017

PROFINET Installation Tips & Tricks On Guidelines


PROFINET INSTALLATION TIPS AND TRICKS

Are your PROFINET assets installed within specification? How do you ensure high network availability?

Profinet is a very widely utilised Industrial Ethernet technology and is respected for its advanced diagnostics, simple commissioning, and robustness within various industrial environments. Within the installation and implementation of a Profinet network, various precautions should be taken, and standards put in place that should be adhered to. Without such adherence to the guidelines, communication issues may arise.



Minimizing Interference and Noise

Cable clearance guidelines
Profinet cables running in close proximity to high voltage machinery and unshielded high voltage cables can cause severe EMC interference and disruption of the networks communications.
  • Always maintain a minimum 20cm separation distance between Profinet cables and un-shielded supply cables (>400V)
  • Fiber optics should be considered when running though an area with substantial risk of EMC interference 
  • Utilise earthed metallic cable trays or conduit to protect cabling from interference when running between cabinets.
Proper Grounding Techniques Implemented
Proper grounding is crucial for all Profinet Installations, Cables should be earthed at each device, and as the cable enters and exits cabinets to the functional earthing system.
Why is this important? Profinet cables have a shield that surrounds the cores, to protect the signal from noise and EMC injection. The shield carries any pickup to earth, the path from where the noise is picked up, to where  it is drained to earth should be as short as possible.



Utilise the right network components for your PROFINET Network

Connectors
Bad connectors = Bad communications!

Always use Profinet connectors, standard RJ45 connectors are not acceptable for industrial environments:
  • Industrial RJ45 connectors have an steel housing that earth the cables shield within the device
  • Connector offers cable strain relief, connectors clamp onto the cables sheath to ensure the cores do not slip loose under movement device or cable movement
  • Rugged industrialised design
When building up cables, be sure to utilise an appropriate Profinet stripping tool, in order to reduce accidental wiring faults and ensure a consistent connection at each device.

Managed Switches
Although utilising managed switches is not a prerequisite for a Profinet network, it is extremely useful, and crucial for consistent up time, high network availability and ease of maintenance and troubleshooting. An un-managed switch has no built in intelligence, except to send incoming Ethernet frames out to the right port (Port the destination device is connected to). 
Managed switches add intelligence, supporting a number of useful IT protocols. Some of the features that a managed switch will offer you over an un-managed switch:
  • Integrated SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and LLDP (Link Layer Discovery Protocol), specialised protocols allowing users to retrieve data and statistics saved within switches, such as retries, real-time bandwidth utiilisation, network topology
  • Mirror port, a managed switch will allow you set up a mirror port that channels all the switches data to a single configured port. This is extremely useful if you want to run diagnostics on your Profinet network without interrupting transmission. You can utilise Profinet Engineering tools such as Procentec Netilities to monitor all network traffic on a mirror port and provide valuable diagnostic information to user.
  • Certain managed switches can be utilised for the creation of redundant network structures
  • Advanced features, may include: Loop protection, advanced VLAN functionality, More precise diagnostics and control of network traffic



Precise Commissioning, Maintenance and Diagnostic Tools

With any industrial automation technology, specialized tools, software and network components can assist you with various tasks, from: Network commission, upgrade and to run diagnostics. There are plenty of great tools available on the market. Some of the more popular tools imperative for your installation are listed below:


Netilities
Dedicated PROFINET diagnostics engineering tool. Generating a live list and providing various crucial statistics about the network. Netilities is crucial when commissioning Profinet networks, providing maintenance tasks and troubleshooting problems. You can interface Netilities with you network using a standard Ethernet/WLAN port on a PC, or the ProfiTap for a secure connection.





ProfiTap
If you don't have a mirror port available on a managed switch by the PLC, you may require a dedicated tap device, that allows you to monitor traffic and information running through the network. A tap device can also be a more secure way to connect you PC to your industrial network, allowing only one way traffic for monitoring.





Atlas
Permanent diagnostics monitoring, trending and network overview. The Atlas will assist you managing and maintaining large factory networks by providing you with insight and knowledge of the networks health, state and performance. The Atlas offers a unique Quality Factor rating, that takes a weighted algorithm of the networks performance and risk and displays this in a user friendly and interpret-able manner.




Internationally certified training ensuring site competence 

One of the first steps all organisations should take to ensure a successful Profinet Integration is ensure all stakeholders involved with the implementation have the necessary training, foundation understanding and certification.

The PROFINET / PROFIBUS Competence Center of Southern Africa runs the Certified PROFINET Engineers Course periodically on our scheduled course at our offices, alternatively at a sites convenience. 

Why should I attend training?
Certified PROFINET Engineers course provides the foundation for a clear site competence, knowledge and know how. Training is crucial for any installers, designers and C&I Maintenance staff. 

What will be covered?
The PROFINET Engineers Course combines in-depth theoretical knowledge along with hands-on practical exposure. 

How long is the course?
The Certified PROFINET Engineers Course spans over 2.5 days, with an written and practical examination to be completed on the last day. Lunch will be provided each day.


How do i sign up?
Contact the IDX Academy to obtain additional information, booking forms and pricing
academy@idx.co.za  |  (+27) 11-548-9960  |  WEBSITE

For more information please feel free to contact the PROFIBUS / PROFINET Competence Centre info@idx.co.za  |  +27 11 548 9960  |  www.profibuscentre.co.za


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bridging SQL to Profibus

Introduction

A client came to us with a situation where he required some data on his SQL database to be sent to his PLC. In his case, he has a couple of sensors inserting data directly to his SQL database and he needed these data to be processed by his Profibus PLC controller so that the correct actions could be taken.

The solution accepted by the client was a SQL to Profibus bridge. IDX offered to provide a custom software that would extract the SQL data in real-time and expose the extracted data as a Modbus TCP slave device. The data could then be converted to a Profibus protocol using a gateway such as the Anybus X-Gateway AB9001, and sent directly to the PLC controller.


IDX 8
We provided the client with a custom software called IDX 8. IDX 8 is a customised software offered by IDX, it contains a suite of different functionalities which includes tag management, remote monitoring, historian, alarms and events, data exchange, etc. The function of interest here is its data exchange component which allows for real-time data to be shared with various different systems.
After the client installed IDX 8 on his test server that he brought over for a demonstration of our proposed solution. We continued to setup IDX 8 to extract the SQL data and expose it as a Modbus slave, the steps for the setup are as follows:
  • Setup Data Exchange service
  • Setup SQL interface
  • Setup Modbus Slave interface
After the setup we demonstrated to the client that the data was indeed being extracted from the SQL database, this is shown below using the “Live Tag View” function that IDX 8 supplies:
The ANYBUS X-Gateway AB9001
To configure the AB9001, all that is required is an “IPConfig.exe” tool supplied by HMS and a web browser. We used the “IPConfig.exe” tool to setup the IP address of the AB9001 gateway then configured the Modbus settings using a web browser by accessing the device’s web interface using the assigned IP address.
The hardest part in this process was the mapping of the Modbus transactions to instruct the Modbus master to read the correct values from the correct Modbus slave registers. Once that was done, we used the “Transaction Monitor” function that is provided by the device through its web server to demonstrate to the client that the values read by IDX 8 was indeed being exposed as a Modbus slave device. This is shown in the image below:
Setting up the Anybus X as a PROFIBUS slave
Setting up the Profibus DP slave on the Anybus X-Gateway was done by just assigning a slave address to the device on its “Profibus DP V-1” menu in its web server. After that we then checked the mapping of the Modbus Master registers to the Profibus DP Slave device using the “Mapping Overview” page provided by the web server.
To confirm that the gateway was indeed ready for Profibus communication, we setup a Profibus Master simulation using a tool called Profitrace from Procentec. We demonstrated to the client that the Profibus Master was indeed in data communications with the gateway and that data from that was originally from the SQL was indeed being sent through to the simulated master, this is shown in the image below:

Author: Jackson Kao

Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to Remotely Monitor a Power Meter using a Netbiter EC350

Netbiter makes it simple to view your power meter data from a remote location.
This week I had the task of setting up a power meter and monitoring this device remotely, via a Netbiter EC350. I found it quick and easy to do.

Figure: 1
The Netbiter EC350 shown in figure:1, is the hardware component of the Netbiter remote monitoring solution. The gateway(EC350) can connect to a measuring device/field sensor via the following connection methods: Serial RS232 or RS485, Modbus RTU or TCP, or EtherNet/IP.

In my setup I have used RS485, which is what both devices use. Both devices also needed a 24Vdc power supply shown in Figure:2 below.
The Netbiter uses a cloud service called the Argos to store data that may be remotely accessed later on.
The gateway automatically performs data exchange via an Internet enabled Ethernet connection (WAN) or local cellular networks to the Argos cloud service.
In my setup, I have used the Ethernet port to perform data exchange to the Argos cloud.
The method of using a cloud service data eliminates the use of public or fixed IP addresses and removes the complexity of VPN tunneling.
Apart from this, the Argos service also features an authentication login process. It's possible as the main administrator to grant rights and privileges accordingly to specific user profiles.

Figure: 2
I have connected up my devices using the following steps:

  1. Both my Netbiter EC350 and power meter are powered in parallel using the 24Vdc power supply. The power supply is powered by 220Vac. Take note of the polarity of the device terminals as DC voltage will not work in the reverse polarity.
  2. The gateway is then linked via the RS485 com port, to the power meter. Note that the cable needs to be serial specific, and the connection points (A & B) need to be like for like and not inverted. if multiple slaves are used then the com ports will be series to each other.
  3. My Ethernet cable is connected to the WAN port of my Netbiter and the other end is connected into an Internet enabled data port.
  4. Based on the manual - the input terminals may be wired according to their specific measuring point. In my example I chose to measure voltage which was wired into the available polarity conscious input terminal on the power meter. 

Once my wiring was complete, I then logged into my Argos profile and add the Modbus registers as parameters in a template. The information needed for adding these registers are found in the power meter's manual. By using a template, I can install more units and export/import the same template to other various common applications. Eliminating redundant work, and making commissioning easier.
Since the Netbiter EC350 acts as a Modbus Master in this network, I needed to add the power meter as a slave device onto the Netbiter EC350 under the configuration tab. In this step, I also specified that the template needs to be allocated to this device.
Now that the device is added, I check the communication settings (baud rate, parity, etc) and make sure they correspond to the default of the manual, or I could edit the system parameters on the meter and customize them to what I need for my network.

After my system checks are done, I download my configuration to the Netbiter and I am now able to browse the device parameters (an option available by the Argos service to present data without configuring a dashboard). Once I see data coming through I compare this to the power meter shown in figure:2. Since the meter provides a local display, I could verify that my readings were accurate.

Now that the device has been confirmed, I then added the parameters to the visualization tab and created a simple dashboard, to present the data in a customized format. I also set up a logging graph and alarm list, to track the behavior of my measured values. I could also extract historical data and reports if needed.
The power meter has functionality to read and write registers, so apart from only reading input values, I could remotely access the writable registers, for example: system parameters like the baud rate or device password can be changed remotely.


If you would like to find out more information contact IDX technical solutions:

Email:     info[at]idx.co.za
Contact: +27 11 548 9960
Web:       www.idx.co.za




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Basic PID Control Course

IDX will again be hosting Andy Verwer from the UK to present the Three-Term or PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) Basic Course in Johannesburg, South Africa. The training is aimed at technicians, engineers and programmers who are involved in the operation, implementation and tuning of feedback controllers in a wide variety of applications and industries. Many different aspects of feedback control systems are covered so that the training will benefit a wide range of needs. For example, if you need to:
  • Apply quantitative feedback control to real processes and machinery,
  • Improve the performance or tune controllers in their plant,
  • Implement three-term controllers in their programmable control systems (PLCs and DCS systems),
  • Identify problems and the causes of poor control performance.
The training will run over the course of two days and is for those who have little or no previous experience with feedback control. This module takes the trainee up to the stage where they can tune a simple feedback control system and identify the basic reasons for poor control performance.

There will be a practical component which is delivered in hands-on manner using a combination of simulation software and real processes. The material in the basic and advanced courses are delivered in a manufacturer independent way.

The basic PID control course introduces to control system terminology and technology and introduces three-term (PID) control using a practical, hands-on approach. The basic PID course teaches how the controller terms operate and interact and how to use simple but practical techniques to select and adjust a controller for a range of applications. The training also covers the various causes of poor performance, which are often not concerned with controller tuning. The content will include:
  • Feedback control system architecture and terminology. Features of real controllers. Typical control systems for level, pressure, temperature and flow control. Hands-on practical operation of a control system.
  • Common control actions. Simple process dynamics. Common problems associated with feedback control. Hands-on simulation exercises System load performance, reset windup. Control performance measures. Modelling of process dynamics and nonlinearities. Control valve characteristics and problems.
  • Simple controller tuning methods. Practical tuning exercises for flow, level and pressure control.
The course cost will be R8 550 including VAT and will be held at the IDX offices at 1 Weaver Street, Fourways from the 29th to the 30th of May 2017. Lunch will be included. 

Seats are limited and booking is essential. Please send your booking requests to academy@idx.co.za. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

If you are outside of South Africa and are interested in this course, please follow this link: http://verwertraining.com/training/three-term-pid-controller-training-courses/The above content is derived from this original information page.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

FREE ProfiTrace & COMbricks Training


FREE ProfiTrace & COMbricks Training
Once you know the basics of PROFIBUS, come learn how to effectively troubleshoot PROFIBUS networks with ProfiTrace from PROCENTEC. In this course, we also go through the PROCENTEC range of network components to learn how to make your network robust with repeaters, hubs and active terminators. Want to know what’s going on with your network health when you’re not connected with ProfiTrace? We will show you how to permanently monitor your network with COMbricks and show you how to establish a remote connection into COMbricks so that you can monitor your PROFIBUS network from anywhere in the world!

What's covered in the training? 
  • Network components (connectors, hubs, etc)
  • Correct wiring of repeaters and hubs
  • Setup and connection of ProfiTrace
  • Configure a network using ProfiCaptain
  • Create common network faults
  • Analyse faults using live list and statistics
  • Record and analyse PROFIBUS Messages
  • Analyse signal waveforms and strengths
  • Generation of reports
  • Install and configure COMbricks
  • Remotely monitor PROFIBUS health
  • Understand recordings and statistics
  • COMbricks kit and card options
Are there any prerequisites? 
Yes. You will have to have completed the 2-day Certified PROFIBUS Installer Course so that you have a basic understanding of PROFIBUS before trying to use the tools. You can find out more about the PROFIBUS Installer course here

When and where will the course be running?
We aim to run the course at the IDX offices in Fourways, South Africa every two months. This gives most people and opportunity to fit this into their schedule. There is no cost to attending the scheduled training, however "no-shows" will be billed. It is also possible to run the training at your site, but a fee will apply in these cases. Please contact us for a quote. The remaining courses for 2017 are as follows:
  • 05 May 2017
  • 31 July 2017
  • 29 September 2017
  • 17 November 2017
The course runs from 8:00am to 16:00pm and includes lunch. There is also no need to bring equipment, but we do encourage you to bring your laptop so that we can help you set up the latest version of the software and provide you with a large library of GSD files.

How do I book my spot?
Booking is essential and can be done by sending an email request to academy[at]idx.co.za. We will send you the necessary booking forms and get you registered. Alternatively call us on +27 11 548 9960. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Remotely Monitor Tank Levels Part 1/2- Installing Tank Sensor

Utilizing the following components, IDX was quickly able to monitor the irrigation supply tank at our offices in Fourways. 

To complete this task we would be using the Netbiter Remote tank monitoring solution with the following components.
  • eWON Netbiter - EC Range, Remote Monitoring GSM controller
  • eWON Netbiter - Ultrasonic Tank Sensor
The first step was installing the ultrasonic sensor on the storage tank

Step 1 - Measure
The Netbiter Ultrasonic Tank Sensor comes with an included metal washer, this acts as a perfect stencil to outline the required holes. The center hole required is 30 mm, however we utilised a 32 mm drill mounted hole cutter. Ensure the sensor is mounted on the top surface of the tank, as horizontal as possible, with a clear view down to the contents of the tank and not a side wall or obstacle.





Step 2 - Drill
Using a 32 mm drill mounted hole cutter, this task was made effortless. However it is important to use a file or course sanding paper afterwards to clean off rough edges and loose bits, in order to ensure a water tight seal. We used a 4 mm drill bit for the screw holes. 






Step 3 - Mount

It is recommended that on uneven or non-rigid surfaces, the supplied rubber gasket and metal washer be utilised to create an IP65 seal between the sensor and the tank, especially in the cases of fuel tanks that could be contaminated by water.
We utilised large washers below the surface to ensure a rugged connection.





Step 4 - Sensor Cover (Sun protection)

you should avoid leaving the sensor in direct sun light, we decided to re-purpose a plastic container to shade the sensor. This will prevent any inaccurate readings that may be caused by direct sunlight, in addition it will protect the sensor from the external elements, taken into consideration that the sensor has an IP65 rating and can be utilised in wet and harsh environments.




Step 5 - Wiring
The Netbiter Ultrasonic Sensor comes with 10 meter power and data supply cable. The M12 connector screws with a water tight connection onto the back of the sensor. We ran the cable into our office ceiling, and then into a distribution cabinet with our Netbiter EC250 and power supply.







The supplied cable has four cores, and should be wired as follows:

  • Black - RS-485 Line A
  • White - RS-485 Line B
  • Blue - 0 V DC
  • Brown - 24V DC 




If the tank sensor is your only device on the network, it is standard practice to terminate on both ends of the segment (at both the sensor and EC250 - GSM controller). The sensor has a built in terminating resistor that can be turned on and off via the RS485 bus, therefor placing a 120 Ohm resistor between line A and B on the Netbiter is required.




For more information on how you can monitor your tank levels and assets remotely contact the IDX team: info[at]idx.co.za


The next step is configuration of the online server (Netbiter Argos), we will cover these steps in a following blog, to view:
click here


Thursday, February 2, 2017

PROFIBUS Multi-colour Connectors

Finally, an out of the box cable solution for the ever evolving PROFIBUS network.

Device connections are sometimes considered among the least of our concerns on a Profibus network, but if poorly executed, they can prove to be the largest of our problems. As we know Profibus networks can get rather big and busy, especially with the use of repeaters and hubs. Segments begin to look similar and when performing an inspection, one soon begins to ask the question, Have I checked this segment/device cable or not?

Procentec have found a way to simplify the complexity of a PROFIBUS network, with the ProfiConnector Multi-coloured Plug. You will now be able to highlight your devices and segments, bringing more definition to your network. The creative colour scheme will allow you to maintain uniformity and neatness, thus assisting with speeding up diagnostics and reducing downtime on troubleshooting. There are four combinations of these highly durable and robust plugs: Cage clamp and screw type, with or without PG (Piggy Back) connection.


Not only do these plugs form an awareness to differentiate field devices and segment layouts in a PROFIBUS network, they are also perfect for network segregation, ideally on networks with more than one master controller. This original, innovative plug will allow you to get creative with your network.

It is highly resilient and able to bare the unforgiving environments that industries have to offer.
some amazing features about these plugs include:
  • Shock and UV resistant
  • Temp range: -25˚C to 70˚C
  • Built-in strain relief for incoming and outgoing cable
  • 90˚ angle
  • DB9 connector 
  • Max baud rate: 12Mbps
  • Integrated and switchable termination
  • Available colours: green, orange, purple, red, white
With all these benefits compressed into one compatible and easy to use plug, it makes decision-making quite straightforward when it comes to selecting the best choice for your PROFIBUS network.

For more information contact IDX technical solutions:

Email:     info[at]idx.co.za
Contact: +27 11 548 9960
Web:       www.idx.co.za