Transparent operating conditions

Paul Boughton

The AirGRID transmitter element for mounting on already installed PATLITE signal towers gathers and transmits status information from many different types of machines. Orbit – the exclusive application software for Windows – sends the data in real time to a central operator.
To optimise operational processes and productivity it is necessary to be able to quickly identify exact machine data, such as running times, down times and maintenance times, in addition to bottlenecks in production.

The new AirGRID module, in combination with the analysis software Orbit, significantly facilitates the acquisition and transmission of such information.

The only requirement is that the machines in question have to be equipped with PATLITE signal towers of type LE and LME. The AirGRID module is simply mounted on the existing signal lights. This is achieved by first mounting the adapter via a central bolt and then plugging the transmitter into the mount. When the unit is connected to the communication network it lights up green; in case of a faulty connection, red. As usual with PATLITE, this eliminates the need for cables.[Page Break]
AirGRID uses international wireless communication standards and records the data from multiple machines quickly and simultaneously. Reliable forwarding of the status information during simultaneous communication is also guaranteed. The system consists of the AirGRID attachment for the signal lights (WDT-6M for LME towers and WDT-5E for LE lights) as well as a mobile USB receiver (WDR-U) and/or a stationary LAN receiver (WDR-LE). There is also a special software bundle (WDS-AE), which in addition to “Orbit”, the main application for data acquisition and storage, includes three additional applications for implementation of different configurations.
Orbit saves the acquired data in CSV format and updates the data as soon as the status changes. The PATLITE software also analyses the different operating conditions. Connected to an LED monitor, Orbit facilitates configuration of an Andon board. This visual control system uses self-explanatory icons to visualise the functions and processes of a machine and to display their production status. This gives supervisors a fast overview and keeps them informed about the latest developments. Orbit can also be installed on mobile devices such as iPads, therefore providing access to operating conditions and production data anytime and anywhere.[Page Break]
The entire WD series is a sensor network in conformity with IEEE802.15.4 telecommunication standards. Its 2.4 GHz frequency can be used anywhere in the world. A special router function always automatically selects the best communication route – even if the layout gets changed. In addition, up to 20 AirGRIDs per receiver can be networked with each other.
Fig. 1. USB.jpg: The data from the AirGRID can also be received on a mobile device – just plug the mobile receiver WDR-U into a laptop.
Fig. 2. AirGrid.jpg: The LAN receiver WDR-LE allows transmission of information from up to 20 AirGRIDs to the system controller.
Fig. 3. roter-grüner AirGRID.jpg: When the AirGRID is connected to the communication network it lights up green; in case of a faulty connection,
Fig. 4. WDT.jpg: The wireless application is simply mounted on the topmost LED module of the signal light – in this case the LME.
Fig. 5. Grafik.jpg: The data forwarded from AirGRID – converted to graphics for better clarity – provide information on the production capacity and any
bottlenecks in production.
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