Improvements for wireless control panels with safety functions

Paul Boughton

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has improved the performance and equipment of its portable devices for wireless operator control and monitoring of machinery and plants, as well as enhancing them with additional functions.
For safety-orientated applications, the Mobile Panel 277F IWLAN communicates via a 'Rapid Roaming' process to ensure interruption-free transmission of the wireless signals. Optimisation measures in the Mobile Panel 277 IWLAN and Mobile Panel 277F IWLAN for safety-related applications include colour display of the WLAN signal strength and a vibration alarm that is triggered when a specific lower limit threshold is violated. Handling of the enabling button has also been improved.
For safety-orientated applications, the 277F IWLAN Mobile Panel communicates by means of the extended WLAN access procedure iPCF-MC (Industrial Point Coordination Function with Management Channel), also known as 'Rapid Roaming.' This ensures fast handover of the radio signals between access points and interruption-free roaming times - which is a basic requirement for mobile operator control and monitoring in safety-related areas where enabling and emergency stop buttons are used. The Mobile Panel 277F IWLAN is suitable for use in a Profinet-based network with a Profisafe profile and IWLAN infrastructure with Scalance W access points from Siemens.
The configuration of the Industrial WLAN connection has been simplified for both new Siemens panels, with a software wizard available via a web interface. Multiple wireless approvals mean that the devices can be used all over the world. The Mobile Panel 277 IWLAN without safety functions is also suitable for applications with the Simotion motion control system.
One of the new failsafe Mobile Panel 277F IWLAN variants utilises economical Moby D Smart Cards for site localisation, with logging on to the appropriate operating area on an RFID (radio frequency identification) tag instead of a transponder. A typical application here is in security-compliant robot cells.
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