Cursed CNN and their multi-row news ticker - incessant reminders that it's raining acorns. All too complex for my ordinary brain, but as near as I can tell my 401k tanked in part because people (not you and I, but people you and I may know) spent more than they could afford. How come I'm not reading that on CNN's ticker?
People are nervous. Companies are nervous. The people holding the golden pens that sign on the dotted line of those big new projects are nervous. The new equipment you were going to install next month has been delayed. The design you've been working feverishly on for the last 6 months has just been put on hold. Immensely frustrating stuff for us engineers.
What to do?
I'm here to help. If you've got equipment that you need data from, read on for three clever and inexpensive solutions.
Self serving? You bet. For you and I both. When too many acorns batter your boss's noggin, don't be the one that doesn't have anything to do since the big project was canceled. Be the one known for finding clever ways to increase automation, quality, safety and reduce costs - all on the cheap.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
You've got equipment. You've got Ethernet. And you've got equipment without Ethernet. Use an Ethernet serial server to convert that old school RS-232, 422 or 485 port to Ethernet to get that equipment on your LAN. You can now communicate with it from any PC that can reach an IP address, just like you're plugged in directly. Not using a PC and need a machine-to-machine connection? Use a pair of serial servers in "paired mode" (clever eh?) to create a serial tunnel over the network.
Vlinx Ethernet Serial Servers
What about remote I/O? Is there a bit of info you'd love to be able to access but the wiring is troublesome? Would you like to know if that pump is running, the tank full, the power on, the pressure too high, the temperature too low, and on and on? Zlinx wireless I/O makes it remarkably easy to retrieve that info. There are two ways to play. One is to use a pair of them and they'll simply mirror-image each other's I/O. So if analog input #1 on the remote unit is at 14 milliamps, analog output #1 on the matched local unit will output 14 milliamps. Bring that right into an input of your existing PLC or controller and "Wa-La" - you just went wireless. Using a PC instead of a PLC? Zlinx uses the ubiquitous Modbus protocol…wirelessly. Slap a Zlinx radio modem on the serial port of a PC or other HMI and it will suck in all the I/O data from one or many remote Zlinx I/O modules. Your Modbus application won't even know that the data is flowing wirelessly.
Zlinx Wireless I/O
If things are getting quiet, now's a great time to expand your network to reach the rest of your stuff. One of the frustrations in doing that has always been how quickly you run into the 100 meter limit of Cat5.
One ultra-clever solution is our Ethernet Extender - nearly 2000 meters on existing copper
Another common solution is to use fiber. One headache there is that you typically buy a separate media converter to set along side your Ethernet switch in order to convert copper to fiber, then back again at the other end. I've never liked 2 box solutions. You'll never need two boxes again if you configure your own switch from our Elinx flexport line. Simply tell us exactly how you'd like each port configured and we'll build the perfect switch for your application.
Elinx Ethernet Switches
So how are things in your cube? Are acorns falling on your head? Are your boss and CFO scampering around like Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey, putting the brakes on your projects? What will you work on instead? Let me know what's going on in your world.