Friday, April 6, 2001
Philadelphia--What do you get when you combine wireless
hardware, sensors, and microprocessors, with process monitoring software and
sophisticated network protocols? A wireless sensor network for machine
monitoring that promises to simplify installation and make machine-monitoring
sensors more deployable.
That's essentially what Rockwell Science Center introduced at the
ninth annual Allen-Bradley Automation Fair with its wireless sensor product
called HiDRA(tm). "Factory automation engineers won't have to install,
configure, and troubleshoot costly wiring systems typically associated with
factory machine monitoring," explains Rockwell Science Center's Engineering Lead
Allen Twarowski. "Instead, they will just place a self-configuring base node on
the machine they want to monitor. Information gathered from sensors can be used
to reduce maintenance costs while generating data for measuring plant efficiency
and machine life-cycle costs."
HiDRA, or Highly Deployable Remote Access, consists of a network
of communication nodes that can be placed on individual pieces of factory floor
machinery. Each node, which measures 6 x 3.5 x 3 inches, connects to a variety
of sensors for detecting conditions such as vibration and temperature. The node
also contains a processor to convert the raw sensor data into high-value
information about machine performance, as well as a low-power radio to transmit
information wirelessly to local and remote users.
Each node can 'learn' machine parameters and trends from sensor
data, then be programmed to change measurement and analysis tasks. "It's
self-configuring. It's dynamic. It reconfigures and checks its configuration
every few seconds in case something has changed in the environment," says
The product should be available this summer, and will be
introduced initially within the industrial automation industry. However, it has
potential for use in sensing applications in a wide range of other industries.
For more information about HiDRA from Rockwell Science Center