Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ProfiHubs with diagnostic capabilities

Network downtime getting you down?

Introducing PROCENTEC’s range of ProfiHubs, now with new diagnostic capabilities!

The diagnostic ProfiHub is a versatile statistics / diagnostics logger that can be used to keep track of the overall network health and inform either the PLC or DCS of any network failures. These network failures could be in the form of repeated messages, illegal messages, missing ProfiHub terminations, live list changes or power supply problems. Audible or visible feedback can also be achieved by switching the integrated alarm relay of the ProfiHub.

All ProfiHubs are now shipped with this functionality available as standard. Existing ProfiHub owners will soon be able to purchase upgrade packages to enable the diagnostic capabilities via a firmware update. The diagnostic capabilities are available for the B2+R, B5+R, D1, B2FO2, & B4FO2 and these hubs are fully compatible with PROCENTEC ComBricks providing you with a permanent monitoring solution that lets you troubleshoot your network down to the last segment. 

You can use ComBricks to display the most important diagnostics of every channel. This information can be accessed through the webpage of the connected ComBricks unit and the information is displayed as follows:

The information displayed includes the address, tag name, type, serial number and firmware version of the diagnostic slave, the connection (network, module and channel number) of the ComBricks, the redundancy and power status of the ProfiHub, the termination status, illegals and a live list of all channels and the alarm status (of the relay).

The diagnostic data is sent over PROFIBUS so the information can be easily read using the ProfiTrace software. Maintenance engineers can immediately identify the affected segment in the case of cable faults or instrument failure, which drastically decreases downtime.

The events and statistics in the table above are continuously monitored and can be transferred in the following ways so that a PLC / DCS user can be warned of any network issues that may arise:

For more information visit:

Visit the demo environment at to see how the diagnostic ProfiHubs can be integrated with ComBricks.

Feel free to contact the IDX team for additional details or more information on any of the topics mentioned above.

Phone: +27 11 548 9960 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Anybus gateway's creating secure paths for IIOT solutions

Anybus has launched a new family of gateways built to boost your Industrial IoT development demands. These devices are designed to gain secure and easy access between equipment on all major industrial networks, transforming the way your industry, manufacturing business, process factory or packaging plant operates by improving visibility. Now you can establish a foundation for better performance by leveraging this data.

The Anybus IoT X-Gateways and Communicators lets you seamlessly interconnect legacy devices and PLC control systems between industrial networks and OPC UA/MQTT. The information is controlled independently and your network remains secure and encrypted.

How does it work?

The Anybus IoT Communicator, still based on the tried and tested communicator development, will now enable users to integrate serial based RS232, RS485, Modbus RTU, DF1 and ASCII into an OPC UA or MQTT IoT data acquisition system. 

Simply connect, configure and your done!

Mount and power your device with 24VDC +-10%. Connect the device to the related two networks.

Configuration for Communicators:
  1. Configure the Industrial network side (serial side) by connecting the device to your computer via its Rj11 port (a serial to Rj11 cable is provided with your device). You may need a serial to usb converter, this can be easily obtained from your local computer accessory supplier.
  2. Download and install the free Anybus Configuration Manager software for communicators, run this software and configure the data registers or telegrams according to the device/s connected to this network (serial side). 
  3. You are required to set an IP adress for the device (IIoT side), this can be done through the use of free software provided by Anybus called IP Config tool. Connect your device to your computer through its Rj45 connection points with an Ethernet cable. run the IP Config software and run a scan, once you find your device then reassign the IP address as required. 
  4. Now configure the IIoT side through the use of its web interface and free software provided by Anybus. Download and run the Configuration manager tool for IIoT, select the type of IIoT platform you would like to use (MQTT or OPC UA) and add your tags/topics. Once this is done generate and send the config to the communicator.
  5. You can now configure the IIoT details within the web interface. log into this by inputting the IP address of the communicator into your web browser.

Configuration for X-gateways:
  1. Set the the IP address of the IIoT side by connecting your gateway to your computer via an Ethernet cable. Through the use of the IP config software provided by Anybus, scan and change your IP address as required.
  2. Configure the industrial network side by connecting your gateway to your computer via the USB cable provided. Run the Anybus Configuration manager tool for X-gateways and configure the data sizes required for your application.
  3. follow steps 4 and 5 listed above.
OPC-UA available options
  1. OPC-UA discovery server
  2. OPC-UA TCP port
MQTT available options:
  1. Broker URL
  2. Client identifier
  3. Keep alive time (s)
  4. Broker username
  5. Broker password
  6. Base topic
  7. QoS (Quality of Service)

Feel free to contact the IDX team if you would like to find out more details on any of the topics mentioned above:

+27 11 548 9960

Monday, February 11, 2019

PROFIBUS wiring error / B-line short

 PROFIBUS wiring error / B-line short

IDX attended a PROFIBUS call out for a gold mine situated in Welkom.
The client reported issues as “loss of communication and network trips”.

Using the PROCENTEC Mercury Pro Kit (A complete diagnostics tool for troubleshooting PROFIBUS and Industrial Ethernet Networks) we were able to identify the underlying issue as a short between the B-core (red wire) and the PROFIBUS cable shield.

The short in the PROFIBUS cable meant that the differential signal was significantly lower in amplitude and therefore more susceptible to earthing faults and EMI injections on the bus.
PROFIBUS makes use of a balanced signal. This means that the signal transmitted on the A and B channels have similar voltage levels, however, they have opposite polarities. The differential signal is calculated as B – ( – A).

When a short occurs on the PROFIBUS cable between either of these cores and the PROFIBUS cable shield, the shorted core will produce a flat line and the resultant differential signal will effectively be halved.
This balanced communication method, also helps to combat any noise that may be picked up on the network. The assumption is that any interference injected on the bus will be picked up on both the A and B channel which, when combined, will result in a clean differential signal.
PROFIBUS network was still running on a single core, the interference injected onto the network when certain machines or drives were started, was enough to cause communication issues and intermittent network trips.

An oscilloscope that is able to display the individual signals of each of the cores is necessary to effectively identify a “short to shield”. Both the Osiris software (Mercury Pro Kit) and the ProfiTrace software (PROFIBUS Troubleshooting Tool Kit) have this functionality built in.

By enabling the terminating resistors at certain points on the segment, we could pinpoint the exact location of the fault and replace the faulty cable.
After limited down-time for the repair work to take place, we had the network up and running. Oscilloscope measurements taken after the fault had been rectified confirmed a healthy PROFIBUS signal on both A & B channels and in turn, a much more robust differential signal.
No network trips have since been reported.
Maintaining your existing connections, in this case maintaining a healthy PROFIBUS network, is the responsibility of the on-site technical team.
As with anything, the necessary knowledge and the right tools for the job are required to ensure that your production is not affected.

Simply IDX it! If you’re looking for certified industrial communications protocol training, if you want to become a certified PROFIBUS installer and work your way up to a certified PROFIBUS engineer, if you’re looking for troubleshooting kits or permanent monitoring for your network, contact us and we’ll provide a solution.

Feel free to contact the IDX team if you would like to find out more detail on any of the topics mentioned above:

+27 11 548 9960