No Wild West wireless by ProQuest


[...] 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.

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Wild West
Automotive manufacturers want
wireless standard that meets
their special requirements,
not those of a process world

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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