Modern sensors represent ever more complex functions, make higher demands on parameterization and diagnostic tools and are getting smaller and smaller. Control elements on the sensors are not very comfortable or even usable in many installation situations because of poor accessibility. Pepperl + Fuchs shows in the concept study "Smart Bridge" how modern consumer mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs can be used as convenient wireless operating units for industrial sensors.
Modern smartphones and tablet computers bring with powerful processors, graphics units and wireless interfaces all the conditions for use as convenient diagnostic and parameterization tools. Due to the lack of common interfaces and standards, this has not yet been implemented.
Smart Bridge now provides a consistent approach to overcoming the "digital gap" between the service interfaces of modern sensors and consumer mobile devices. The system consists of a wireless adapter - the actual Smart Bridge - as well as a tablet computer or a smartphone with the Smart Bridge app. The data transfer to the app on the mobile device takes place wirelessly in order to be able to establish a connection quickly and easily and to avoid complex and expensive cabling.
The wireless adapter contains a wireless module (Bluetooth or WLAN), a controller and several different interfaces (IO-Link, RS232) for connecting sensors. The adapter is looped into the existing wiring, picks up the sensor data without interference and establishes a wireless connection to a mobile device. The supply of the adapter also takes place via the sensor supply line.
The Smart Bridge app is installed on a tablet or smartphone. After starting the app, a selection menu appears, all available sensors are listed and offered for connection. When a sensor is selected, a page specific to the selected sensor type will appear, showing sensor data and parameters.