Sound Off: Unique Alarm Takes Over All Systems
By Laura Davis
Offering customizable sounds, tones, and alerts for every application, Floyd Bell’s CAN Alarm offers a single solution
for full facility alerting needs.
T he dreadful noise of your alarm in the morning is custom-designed to make your eyes jolt open. It’s that distinct beep that you know (and dread) so well that lets you know it’s time to get up and get moving.
However, you don’t hear that same beep from any other
alarm—your microwave alert is different from your alarm clock,
which is different from your stove timer, which is different from
your smoke detector, and so on.
This is all part of a sound design that help you instinctively
and immediately know what to look for when you hear an alarm
and what actions to take.
This same concept holds true in the plant. Many companies offer alarms for the facility to alert workers to a variety
of problems, each with their own custom sounds, tones, and
patterns. Which means you usually need multiple alarms for
each system or machine.
That’s where the CAN Alarm from Floyd Bell comes into play.
This system promises to take on the full alarming needs for
an entire facility, while offering a customizable sound for each
system or machine it contains. We spoke with Gary Zimmerman
of Floyd Bell to fnd out exactly how it works.
NED: WHAT IS THE CAN ALARM AND WHAT INDUSTRY/
WORKERS WILL USE IT?
GARY ZIMMERMAN (GZ): The CAN Alarm is a panel mount
Piezo Alarm that operates on any system using the CAN J1939
protocol. While the automotive and work vehicle industries
have been some of the frst to adopt CAN technology, it’s
being used in applications ranging from marine vehicles to
car washes. All of these industries need their equipment to
communicate audible information to the user. Rather than
wiring separate multiple alarm components, each with its own
dedicated power, the CAN alarm provides one single device
on the existing wiring network to emit multiple sounds/tones/
patterns to communicate multiple alerts and alarm conditions.
NED: WHAT ARE THE MAIN FEATURES?
GZ: The alarm offers a huge output—it’s the lowest frequency
and loudest piezo alarm we manufacture, and it is arbitrary
address capable. Users can confgure a unique sound for each
alarm condition along with being able to digitally control the
NED: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FEATURE AND WHY?
GZ: The most impressive part of the CAN Alarm is that it
basically takes our entire catalog of more than 1,000 different
audible devices and puts them all into one unit that can be
confgured and controlled with a communications system that’s
already in place. The possibilities are endless, so theoretically,
every application will use a different combination of tones. It’s
also worth mentioning that our engineers designed it to be a
lower frequency than our other alarms, which helps it perform
better in ambient noise environments. You should be able to
hear this alarm over just about any work environment.
For more, visit:
Circle 314 on card or visit www.nedinfo.com/73501-314
NED: HOW IS THIS ALARM DIFFERENT THAN SIMILAR
PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET?
GZ: We haven’t found anything quite like the CAN Alarm on
the market. While several manufacturers have taken a stab
at providing an audible with CAN connectivity, none of them
offer the robust set of features, rugged durability, and output
of our component.
NED: WHEN WAS IT DEVELOPED, AND WHAT SPECIFIC
MANUFACTURING CHALLENGES IS IT MEANT TO SOLVE?
GZ: Our engineers have been developing the CAN Alarm for
more than a year, but we offcially released the product in the
summer of 2019. The CAN alarm solves several problems. If
you have different alarm conditions on your equipment, those
need to be assigned different types of tones. Think about the
sounds in your car. When a door is open, that should make a
completely different sound than if your gas tank is empty. We
want to make it as easy as possible to communicate in detail
to the user of the equipment and now an endless combination of sounds and tones can be assigned to different input
signals—all using a single device.
Previously, this would require multiple alarms. Using the
existing CANbus, we’re able to just add this unit to an existing
J1939 system, allowing the alarm to be confgured for whatever messages it receives via the network rather than being
“pre-canned” with specifc sounds.
NED: WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THIS?
GZ: Our biggest challenge in developing this component was
making something that was simple to use but complicated
enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of sounding applications. The range of applications of our audible products
is quite large, and we wanted this single CAN Alarm to be able
to be a “one-size-fts-all” component, letting our customers
decide how they’d like to confgure their sounds based on
their unique alarm conditions.