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Fieldbus maintenanceHannover Messe Hall 9, Stand D58

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The functioning of fieldbus and Industrial network far too often equate users with the sufficiently high quality of data communication. Although this is for the stable Machine and plant operation is imperative, there is awareness of the need for monitoring to be proactive condition monitoring in industrial automation. With a current survey among webinar participants and its annual Vortex Report shows Indu-Sol the catch up.

“Once every two years or every 30.000 km” are the recommendations of motorists for the intervals of a regular inspection. Although these dates are based on many years of experience, they are only guidelines. In addition, depending on the operation, further small work may be necessary between the intervals, such as adding cooling water or checking the tire pressure. The driver has a good feeling when he observes his inspection specifications.

fieldbusIn the case of cars, the more sophisticated one is also contributing to this Onboard diagnosis at. It provides timely information about component anomalies, makes a diagnosis and, at best, issues a recommendation for action. This principle is also common today for mechanical components in machines and systems. The function of fieldbus and industrial network is, however, far too often assumed to be without maintenance. But is this negligible and if not, how much maintenance is required?

Field report on maintenance of fieldbus and network

The measurement engineers at Thuringian Indu-Sol GmbH are called 400 to 700 times a year by customers from a wide range of industrial sectors. The reason: there are increasing numbers mysterious, non-reproducible events sporadically in their production facilities, which occasionally disrupt the processes.

If anything, replacing the components only helps for a short time. A metrological analysis of the data communication can, however, identify many symptoms, such as outdated device firmware or worn contacts. An electromagnetically incompatible machine and plant installation also has a negative impact on the quality of communication in machine and plant operation.

fieldbusIn its annual Vortex report Indu-Sol publishes the latest findings from the measurement missions of the past year. In 2019, the measurement engineers went out a total of 437 times. Only about every second deployment was on schedule and therefore preventive in the context of a regular inspection of the fieldbus and network. The other half consisted of troubleshooting due to already noticeable deterioration in quality in the automation processes, which the operators could not explain or fix themselves. Out of 185 troubleshooting, there were even 123 SOS deployments. Here, the service technician had to come to the site immediately due to a serious fault in order to avert the otherwise ongoing production downtime.

When troubleshooting in Profibus networks, more than every second use was declared as an SOS call, only one in five in Profinet. At Profinet, based on the experience with Profibus, preventive maintenance with regular to permanent measurements has become established.

Can the longevity of the fieldbuses be planned?

A good third of the participants in one Indu-Sol webinars However, stated that they did not carry out targeted network maintenance. According to this survey, only 7% of the cases have their own budget items. Permanent condition monitoring of fieldbuses and industrial networks is still not a standard. After all, at least the participants in the above-mentioned webinar plan predominantly with machine and system availability of at least 95%, often for at least 20 years.

Fieldbus surveyTo achieve this goal, a permanent one is needed Condition monitoring from the start in all fieldbuses or networks. With new Profinet systems, this idea is becoming increasingly popular. An acceptance measurement is carried out as soon as the field devices are commissioned. This can be used to demonstrate the quality of the installation. It also ensures that the system is at the start with a 100% functional reserve.

The current topology is also documented, which enables later changes in the network structure of the bus systems to be identified. Last but not least, this is becoming increasingly important with regard to increasing networking and the associated higher security requirements. Permanent status monitoring from the first telegram ensures that maintenance is tailored to requirements.

Monitor automatically, report if necessary

Fieldbus surveyWith the system developed by Indu-Sol Permanent network monitoring (PNÜ), fieldbuses and networks can be permanently monitored without feedback. In this way, you can immediately make a statement about the current status of the fieldbus systems if required. To do this, so-called inspectors, i.e. passive data collectors, determine the necessary quality values ​​from the networks and use preventive alarms as soon as critical changes become apparent.

In Ethernet-based networks, the Ethernet switches can partially do this, provided that they are manageable. The central monitoring software Promanage NT reads out the diagnostic data of the issuers and the port statistics of the switches and bundles them on a central server. This provides an easy to grasp overall view, even in widely ramified structures. If necessary, the analysis can be traced with just a few clicks to the individual device that sent the message.

Fieldbus surveyIn Promanage NT operators can combine this information with topological representations and hall layouts to form a central database. This updates itself, reports preventive critical events and provides precise diagnostic information with the help of artificial intelligence. Thanks to the maintenance that is now tailored to your needs, the initial investment in the solution pays for itself quickly. This prevents premature device replacement because the condition monitoring indicates when there is a need for action.

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Pepperl + Fuchs