Showing posts from March, 2011

PROFIBUS – Full of adventure

For some of you, when you hear the word “PROFIBUS” you might cringe because of the problems you may have faced in the past with this fieldbus. When I hear PROFIBUS, I hear adventure, a new challenge and a new solution.I recently travelled to an African country known for its happy people and great chocolate. That’s right, you guessed it…Ghana! Situated on the north west of Africa along the Gulf of Guinea, it’s a tropical forest teaming with gigantic pot holes (at least the route that I travelled was!).
The next morning,after 20 hours of travel and 4 hours of sleep, I was on my way to try and solve the elusive problem that was plaguing this plant. The problem was described to me as “three devices keep stopping and then we have to manually restart them”. After looking at the voltage levels, signal waveforms, message trace, statistics, etc on my trusty PROCENTEC ProfiTrace my conclusion was that the messages are getting corrupted by noise. Unfortunately there is not too much that can be do…

Need for Tag Synchronisation and Management

Modern plant systems consist of various real-time data systems, often from different vendors and the data contained in these systems is usually not directly exchangeable. The requirement to share information between these systems has become easier to achieve over recent years due to the advent of standardized data exchange protocols and systems, such as those defined by OPC, or using products such as IDX Data Exchange Server. However, while sharing this real time data has become simpler, the management of the systems producing and consuming this data has not. Currently, if the real time data elements, referred to as tags, are added or removed from the data producers, manual intervention is required to ensure those tags are added and removed from all the consuming systems in order to ensure configuration synchronization between all systems.
Manual synchronization is a tedious process when the systems involved are large, changes are frequent, and where small changes, such as a change in…