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Distance is no longer an issue — System 800xA goes wireless

Beautiful Stresa, Italy hosts the World Control Tour to talk wireless solutions and other v6 additions

The room was crowded when we presented 800xA’s wireless solution at the World Control Tour’s fifth stop in Italy. The Tour’s theme has been, “It’s all about control”. In Italy, that meant wireless control. With System 800xA v6’s wireless mobility and mesh networking products, users can now manage assets more conveniently and without miles of wiring. Distance is no longer an issue.

It’s likely that each World Control Tour attendee around the world has had a mobile phone in their pocket. Each probably owns a laptop or tablet that can easily connect to networks and other devices with wireless connections. Even cable TV can be delivered wirelessly. Why can’t this principle be applied to process automation? We were glad to present in Italy on just how it can, with System 800xA v6’s enhanced wireless capability.

Traditionally, automation system networks require extensive wiring. The need for mobility and a more flexible deployment of networks and measurement positions has led to a shift away from bundles of wiring, toward wireless solutions. The same can be seen in consumer technology trends. Plant operations thrive with a mobile workforce that can access control system data anywhere at the facility. This is seen when critical operations and troubleshooting is addressed in the field using tablets or smart phones.

System 800xA v6 goes wireless with high capacity mesh routers from Tropos that provide high availability by automatically selecting the best route through the network, just as the 800xA team carefully mapped out the route of the World Control Tour. Security is built-in at multiple levels of the product architecture with access control, IPsec tunneling, and firewalls built into every single router.

System 800xA wireless Tropos mesh routers are capable of creating Wi-Fi coverage across the plant via mobile devices and can also be used to connect controllers in remote areas like pump stations and wells. A place where this functionality is particularly valuable is in the mining industry, where system components like workstations and controllers often are distributed to remote locations or mobile equipment.

Another area where 800xA Wireless Solutions contributes to cost effective installations are wireless process measurement. Over 50% of instrumentation installation costs are related to the wiring and cabling of devices. With the hotly competitive environment industrials operate in, each is looking for cost savings. They can be realized through wireless measurement instrumentation like Wireless HART.

Wireless monitoring opens the door for endless control, like the endless beauty on display at Lake Maggiore during our stay there on the Tour. With only a few more tour stops left in the spring, be sure to check-out blogs penned by automation experts from previous tour dates in the Conversations blog series, and future tour dates on the WCT home page and Twitter account!

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