Emerson’s AVEN TICS G3 Electronic Fieldbus Platform.
Photo courtesy: Emerson Electric Co.
Emerson’s AVENTICS Wireless ARM
Photo courtesy: Emerson Electric Co.
Today, as sensing technology has advanced, it is now easier to monitor these pneumatic actuators and get actionabledata without being cost-prohibitive. Pneumatics now ties inwith the overall automation system to provide comprehensive, actionable performance data that can improve overallequipment e;ectiveness (OEE).
;ese smart pneumatic technologies deliver actionabledata, in real-time, that machine operators and plant engineers use in two critical ways: to immediately respond toproblems and issues with pneumatic components and to correct them before they cause signi;cant problems or lead tosigni;cant downtime for automation systems.
Robust, high-performance pneumatic systems with real-time sensor data also provide the basis for data-driven,preventative maintenance programs. Data on valve performance, and whether pneumatic function is falling outsideof established thresholds, now provides the basis for morepredictive maintenance programs, helping to prevent unscheduled downtime by planning for component servicingand replacement in the most e;cient manner possible.
New Wireless Tools Enhance
Pneumatics for Automation
Many complex automation systems can have numerous pneumatic components, many of which now incorporate sensors. How is that data captured andmanaged? Major pneumatics suppliers are deployingadvanced, modular ;eldbus valve system interfaces.
For example, Emerson’s AVENTICS Series G3 electronic ;eldbus valve system replaces conventionalhardwired solutions and integrates communicationinterfaces and Input/Output (I/O) capabilities topneumatic valve manifolds.
;e G3 platform is a modular and scalable system that
permits easy access to its module components; it’s simple to
assemble, install, commission, and maintain. It supports a
full range of automation communications protocols, includ-
ing EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, and Pro;Net, etc. ;is enables
PLCs to turn valves on and o; more e;ciently and to chan-
nel I/O data from sensors, lights, relays, individual valves or
other I/O devices via various industrial networks.
State-of-the-art pneumatic ;eldbus valve systems like theAVENTICS Series G3 help simplify commissioning, installation, and integration of pneumatic valves into the overallautomation system. ;ey enable faster start-ups and enhanced diagnostics that help identify problems earlier andfaster—contributing to increased equipment uptime andgreater productivity.
;e Series G3 platform now adds an industry-;rst wireless capability with the launch of the Wireless ARM. ;emodular Wireless ARM is engineered to be easily addedas a “clip” into existing G3 ;eldbus platforms. It providesreal-time access to pneumatic component diagnostics, aswell as supports easy valve system commissioning and con;guration—two key advantages many automation systemOEMs and end users are seeking.
Sensor data from pneumatic devices networked throughthe G3 ;eldbus platform are sent via secured Wi-Fi connection to a web-based dashboard that can be accessed byany smartphone, tablet or laptop. Using the Wireless ARMallows the valve manifolds to be fully commissioned andmonitored prior to machine startup; this includes settingoperational thresholds and alarm settings.
It’s an example of how wireless interfaces can more easilysupport a ;eldbus platform’s diagnostic and commissioningcapabilities via an internal Wi-Fi access point. ;is wirelessaccess can improve operational convenience and e;ciency,especially in machine settings where the valve system is located inside the machine or on the ceiling.
;is web interface can also be used to commission all thefeatures of the ;eldbus module when it is ;rst integrated intothe overall automated production system. Operators using awireless laptop or tablet can commission networking features such as IP address, subnet mask, and gatewayaddresses for the ;eldbus module, as well as valvemanifold settings such as baud rates, etc.
Once the automated system is up and running, error noti-
;cations for alarms, voltage levels, short circuits, module er-
rors, open load errors, and distribution errors are delivered
to the web-based dashboard, which can be con;gured so
laptops or smartphones can get alerts if critical thresholds
threaten to be exceeded.
Devices ranging from pneumatic cylinders and valve manifolds to pressure sensors and air preparation units are constantly generating performance data. ;is is essential data thatoperators need so they understand how all the pneumatic devices connected through the ;eldbus communication interfaceare performing and can be diagnosed when problems occurduring production.
Machine operators can use these alarms for detailed guidance about precisely which device or valve component maybe approaching failure thresholds; that provides the kind of actionable data needed to support the servicing of a device duringthe next scheduled downtime for machine maintenance.
Performance and diagnostic data that is aggregated to thewebsite dashboard is, obviously, pneumatic-speci;c. However, the end-user can combine that data with other datafrom the machine’s PLC and other sensors in order to conduct more sophisticated analytics about overall automationperformance. Using this real-time data develops deeper insights into machine productivity and energy e;ciency.
One application that bene;ts from such proli;c and detailed real-time performance and diagnostic data is the engine test stand. Engine test stands are just what they soundlike. ;ey’re used to run vehicle engines, o;en to their limits,
to monitor the engine’s overall performance. Pressure sensors
are key measurement components found throughout these
testing systems. Recently, a motor vehicle manufacturer need-
ed to select multiple squeezes and test pressures when using
their engine test stands. ;e manufacturer partnered with
Emerson to ;nd a compact, engineered pneumatics solution
with a small footprint that could solve their challenge.
Emerson recommended the AVENTICS Series 503 di-
rection control valve, which has ultra-high ;ow ratings per
valve size, and the Ethernet G3 platform, the Wireless ARM
and I/O as well as safety lockout valves with air preparation
and ;ow controls. ;is all-in-one pneumatics solu-
tion combined ultra-high ;ow rates with a us-
er-friendly way to capture and manage sensor
data. It not only ;t the machine mounting
envelope, the solution integrated commu-
nication interfaces and I/O capabilities to
pneumatic valve manifolds within the en-
gine test stand. ;e pneumatic valve man-
ifold with sandwich regulators was able to
solve the manufacturer’s challenge to select
pressure, and the addition of the wireless ARM
made it possible for the manufacturer to access real-time
pneumatic component diagnostics.
Automated Recovery Capability
Coupled with wireless access to commissioning and diagnostics, the wireless ARM also provides an automated