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[...] VW is now moving to Chatanooga, Tenn. The problem with that is they're not interoperable. Because there's not a wireless standard for the discrete industry, as the industry evolves, we don't want to see more of this diverse 'nonstandardization' so to speak.
No Wild West wireless Automotive manufacturers want wireless standard that meets their special requirements, not those of a process world A By Ellen Fussell utomotive manufacturers still Policastro struggle in the midst of ﬁnancial turmoil, yet they forge ahead in technical innovation and continue to sound the horn of standardization needs, especially in the ﬁeld of wireless for dis- and explained crete manufacturing. how the standard could In a presentation at ISA EXPO last October, better meet discrete manufacturers’ needs. Mike Read, senior technical specialist in IT at See related story on page 26. Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich., voiced Robots need no tangles the struggles of automotive manufacturers in ob- There are places where wireless is a requirement taining next-generation wireless requirements. because the wired equivalent is not practical, The speciﬁc requirements for discrete parts such as on robots, where the end effector is con- manufacturing screams for standards writers to tinuously ﬂexing. “On a robot, you have six axes take another look at the ISA100.11a standard, with joints moving,” Read said. “So you have the which so far is process heavy. And since the auto- base axis 1 turning clockwise or counterclock- motive industry does not yet have a wireless stan- wise. Axis 2 makes the robot bow down. Then dard, they are putting together a set of require- you work your way up to the sixth axis, at the ments with the intent for these requirements to wrist. All those axes have to get wired to the end become part of the ISA100.11a standard. effector, and it has to go past all those axes. So “When we conceived ISA100 would be a fam- every axis that ﬂexes is ﬂexing that wire. If you ily of standards, we envisioned immediately that continuously ﬂex a coat hanger it’ll break. The manufacturing automation would need tighter same thing happens with copper wires.” constraints on the time issue,” said Wayne Mang- That is the classic example, but similar applica- es, the ISA100 chair and program manager at Oak tions, such as festooned cables (as with a shower Ridge National Labs. “We’re glad to see that group curtain) mean a tool goes on a rail forward and becoming active in the ISA100 family. In fact, VW backward. It is connected on a base, and “rather is now moving to Chatanooga, Tenn. And I’m try- than a rail, we use a festoon, which is equivalent to ing to get them to join. They have plans to build a a hanger on a shower curtain that droops down,” multi-billion dollar plant. And other companies Read said. “So as it pulls away from its base, the are building nearby to support that plant.” festoon cable stretches out, like a shower curtain In his talk, Read pointed out the major differ- unfolds. It’s the same problem with a high-speed ences in today’s ISA100.11a standard between machine; most cables will sway and slap into process and discrete manufacturing requirements each other, with a lot of ﬂexing of cables.” 20 INTECH APRIL 2009 WWW.ISA.
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