Monitoring and controlling of manufacturing processes need wireless instruments instead of the wired support that exists in most facilities today. In the quest to increase productivity, industry leaders are focusing on ways to improve their operating capabilities while maintaining high quality and low cost.
The current advances in the field of instrumentation is a result of amalgamation of different domains such as Electrical, Mechanical, IT, Communications, Software, etc. Industry 4.0 is powered by advancements in interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data. The current focus is on smart manufacturing, digital instrumentation, advanced analytics and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Use of networked production, interconnections, data and information exchange across the industrial enterprise are growing to a sizeable extent, making integration, cybersecurity and communication very important.
Edge computing, edge sensors, wireless instrument system design and sonar flowmeters, etc. are a few examples of advances in the area of instrumentation.
Different topologies are used in wireless design as discussed below:
The gateway will enable communication between the devices through various wireless topologies. An interesting US Patent from Honeywell (US7936878B2) deals with secure wireless instrumentation network systems for sharing secret keying information. The aim of the invention is to make the wireless instrumentation communications...
reliable enough in an industrial setting so that existing wired instrumentation may be replaced by wireless instrumentation. The system has a secure trust center providing a birth key (BK) via a protected link to a non-member wireless device. The device uses the key to provide a secure link e.g. internet virtual private network (VPN) connection, which is used to send a request for membership to the center. The center authenticates the request for membership, and considers the non-member device to be a member wireless device. The secure link is cryptographically protected using a unique cryptographic key from the center that maintains a record of cryptographic keys.
A list of prevailing wireless technologies such as protocols, international standards and also customized solutions for specific domains is presented below.
Field Instrumentation being a highly capital and infrastructure-intensive area, there are no start-ups engaged in research. However, there are a number of new players who have entered the market with their newly developed products.
Low Power Consumption
Greater Immunity to Environmental Conditions
Increased System Reliability & Reduced Downtime
Companies working in the area of field instrumentation
Digital process instrumentation will be considered as a vital source of data in the near future. It will provide data that is needed to improve the quality and productivity of the process plant. Wireless instrumentation will certainly have a significant role in the market in the next few years. The measuring instruments and control elements should be properly selected, especially with regard to reliability. End users should concentrate on the integration of the business layer and the operational layer of their facility. Field Instrumentation is poised to become the backbone of process plants, and is expected to reach USD 22.27 Billion by 2025.