Wireless networks, Bluetooth, and mobile devices have interconnected our world. They connect us to the Internet and help communicate with other electrical devices. This has opened a door for engineers to be more mobile and connected to systems and tools. Software can now deliver technical readouts to an engineer as he walks through a plant floor. Wireless networks can extend the reach of PLCs and allow for a system to update itself. And your smartphone can become a multi-tool, allowing you to complete your DIY projects at the push of a button.
Ryobi Phone Works is an app that allows you to turn your smartphone into a multi-measuring tool. The app functions with the help of smartphone attachments that convert it to become a laser level, a moisture meter, stud finder, and even an inspection scope, just to name a few. The attachments mount on to the smartphone via a clip and plug into the phone’s headphone jack. The headphone jack is used to transmit data.
Using the phone’s camera, the Phone Works’ laser level attachment analyzes the surface you are working on and the app lets you create custom angles that are then displayed onto the wall surface being worked on. The moisture meter attachment can detect water in wood, drywall, cement, and other building materials. Moisture content is displayed between 6 to 44% and is valued against current local environmental conditions.
The Phone Works app includes more attachments like a laser distance measurer, stud finder, infrared thermometer, laser pointer, and noise suppression earphones. The app itself lets you create voice notes, geo tag locations, and capture images and videos for all your projects.
From do-it-yourself engineering to working in industry settings, the interconnectivity of technology is advancing. Parker has introduced SensoNODE Low Energy Wireless Monitoring Sensors to help capture and transmit data measurements via Bluetooth technology. These sensors help obtain data from hard-to-reach locations, and allow the user to see the status of their process while mobile on the plant floor.
The sensor communicates directly to the SensoNODE Mobile application. The app can be connected to up five sensors at a time and data can be read in digital or analog form. The app has the capability to view real-time data such as max/min values along with historical data. It also allows you to analyze trends and help customize your process based on the data collected. According to Parker, the SensoNODE sensors are level one, also called the sensor layer, of its connectivity plan. Level two is scout edge or the gateway hardware. The second level is where data is collected and delivered to the user. This could also be information transmitted to other devices such as a PLC. The third level is software with further developmental plans connecting the information to cloud services. Parker’s SCOUT Technology will allow users to access data via the Internet in remote locations. The next generation of sensors will offer bi-direction control, to change sensor settings via the mobile app, improved battery life, and app customization for the customer’s needs.
The SensoNODE family includes pressure sensors that can measure different pressure ranges from 0-150, 0-3625, and 0-5800 psi. Each sensor can withstand a burst pressure four times that of its operating pressure range. The SensoNODE family also has temperature nodes. The temperature nodes are available with line port attachments that have an operating pressure of 0 to 150 psi, or as a clip. The port attachments have an operating range of 14° Fto 185° F and the temperature clip has a range of -40 to 257° deg. F
Lastly, humidity sensors round out the SensoNODE line up. The sensors can measure 0 to 100% humidity and are used in ambient conditions and inert compressed-gas monitoring. The operating pressure is 0 to 150 psi and the operating temperature is -4° F to 167° F.
Bosch Rexroth network tools not only measure data, but also impact the assembly process directly. Nexo is the company’s line of wireless dc servo transducerized tools. They provide full control and measurement of torque, torque angle, and cycle time.
The benefit of Nexo tools is that they can provide wireless connection to a controller via Indralogic PLC communication. The information can be sent to a PLC input that, depending on the torque and tooling quality, can slow down, speed up, or perform different functions to optimize the production line. The Nexo tools use wireless networks (Wi-Fi) to transmit and record data. However, the controller is incorporated directly into the tool, which results in the data being stored directly in the tool’s memory. If the tool is in a “dead spot” of connectivity, information can be buffered and stored on the device. Once connection is reestablished, the data is transmitted to the receiving unit or computer.
Nexo tools have an integrated graphics display. The display shows torque values, torque angle, cycle times, and the through the buttons on the tool, you can change torque settings without a computer. The tools also incorporate a barcode scanner which can scan and modify the required torque settings per part as they come down the assembly line. If the user wishes to gain access via the computer, the settings are available through the Nexo Operating system or a browser interface. The tools operate on Wi-Fi 2.4 and 5 GHz for easy integration with current wireless technology.