April 14, 2014

Offshore platforms – A Commissioning Trip

Somewhere in South-East-Asia. It’s early in the morning.Offshore Platform
The sun is about to rise and dense fog settles on the airport.

A group of 20 platform workers, including two INDUSTRONIC commissioners, gathers round a helicopter waiting for them to take off.

Only ten kilos baggage per person are allowed.
Baggage that has to contain everything needed during the next two weeks due to the limited space on the platform.

After all things have been packed away, the whole crew is ready for take-off to an offshore facility in the middle of the sea.

During the flight, the commissioners remember how they had to prepare themselves for this trip. One of the preparations was taking part in several days of training regarding offshore safety matters according to international standards (OPITO, NOGEPA).

Read more »

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Categories: Industries
April 9, 2014

Unicast, Multicast and Broadcast – an Introduction

A post by our colleague Robert Persch, Development “Systems Software”

An industrial communication system must transmit diverse information – speech, signaling data and control data. There are cases when information is only sent to a single recipient (unicast) as well as situations where information is sent to several recipients at the same time (multicast or broadcast).

In order to decide when to use which mode of transmission, you can e.g. think of a party you might be having, where all guests are gathered in a large room. If you now intend to communicate with a specific guest, it seems logical to first approach this guest and then talk to him/her directly – and to no one else. This “unicast transmission” does not disturb the other guests, and you will know from the recipient’s reaction that the information was received and understood (in networking terms: the recipient sends an “acknowledgment”).

Unicast

Unicast transmission mode

But you may be faced with a situation where it is not clear who the recipient of the information is, or whether this person is at the party at all. Think e.g. of the message “Would the owner of the green vehicle parked in the driveway please contact the party host”. The simplest way to convey this message is to climb onto a chair and shout the message loudly into the room (a “broadcast” in networking terms). Read more »

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Categories: Technology
April 3, 2014

Industries: Energy & Utilities

This week we would like to introduce one of our ongoing Major Projects:

TenneT – Helwin Bèta

End customer:

TenneT TSO GmbH

Location:

Amrumbank West offshore wind farm  (located in the North Sea, 34 miles away

from the coast, 22 miles north of Helgoland and 23 miles west of Amrum island )

Project name:

HELWIN BÈTA – HVDC CONVERTER PLATFORM

General project description:

Helwin Bèta is a converter platform with high voltage into direct current transmission system (HVDC) in order to connect the Amrumbank West offshore wind farm to the electricity grid. The 3-phase alternating current which is generated by the wind turbines of the wind farm is converted into direct current on the Helwin Bèta converter platform. The electric power is then transmitted to the grid connection point on the main land via high-voltage submarine and land cables. There, a transformer station converts the power back to alternating current for further use.

Project scope:

•    Task: Delivery, support during commissioning
•    System: Intercom and Public Address System
•    Scope of delivery / details:
•    2 x INTRON-D plus systems (A+B system – shared operation)
•    1 x master intercom station (Access Panel)
•    3 x weather-proof outdoor intercom stations
•    Schedule: Offer in 2012, order in May 2013, commissioning in 2014
•    Parties involved in the project: TenneT TSO GmbH (operator), Heerema Fabrication Group (designer of HVDC CONVERTER),         Siemens (Main Contractor), Signon Berlin (purchaser), commissioning by Signon Berlin and INDUSTRONIC.

Special features:

•    A+B system redundancy (shared operation)
•    Interconnection between systems via fiber optic cables

 

If you would like to find out more about our other Major Projects from various industries, please follow this link

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Categories: Industries
March 27, 2014

Key Signaling

In my article of February 27, 2014 about priority-controlled communication I already mentioned that visual signaling is important for Intercom and PA/GA systems so that the operators maintain the control over active functions and different system states at any time.
In this article, I will introduce you to 4 basic signaling types by using momentary rocker switches as example. They are used in weather-proof and explosion-proof outdoor intercom stations.
The following signaling types are covered in this article:

  • Ready-to-listen signaling,
  • Ready-to-talk signaling,
  • Pre-busy signaling, and
March 21, 2014

Centralized vs. Decentralized System Architecture

A post by our colleague Robert Persch, Development “Systems Software”

Biased by the World Wide Web and common Ethernet structures there is a tendency to promote a completely decentralized architecture for IP-based industrial communication systems.

The term “decentralized“ can refer to the location of the individual communication devices in the network, but usually it is more about the functional organization or in other words the way these devices interact when a function is executed.

As long as only basic functions have to be considered, e.g. push-to-talk communication between two subscribers or broadcasting of simple announcements, the corresponding terminal devices can easily manage the communication without the need of a coordinating central control unit.Decentralized

More complex functions which require the management of several stations mostly need a central unit. Examples are the management of speech direction in half-duplex conferences or the provision of conference channels in full-duplex conferences.

Or consider the following example: On large company sites, there is often an intercom station installed at each gateway for the registration of visitors. Calls from these intercom stations are accepted by the operators of a control room. For this purpose, the control room can have several operator stations and calls are indicated at all intercom stations at the same time. If a call is accepted, the indication at the other intercom stations is cleared or the next incoming call is indicated. To now prevent that calls are simultaneously accepted at two operator stations, you actually need a centralized control unit which decides on the final assignment of the calls and redirects them to the corresponding intercom stations.

In a decentralized system it is difficult to compensate the lack of a control unit. Here, the call is indicated at both intercom stations and in the worst case also accepted by both operators. So how can this Centralizedconflict be resolved? The system should select one station which manages the call and should ensure that the call is terminated at all other operator intercom stations except from one. But does that really work in a completely decentralized system? If there are other incoming calls waiting, things can get even more complicated. Hence control errors are very likely. Just like in real life: For coordination tasks you require someone who takes the lead.

The need of central control units is even more obvious if you want to use the system for broadcasting of warnings and alarms. Here, there must be at least one central logical entity for the control of each warning or alarm sequence. If there is an interface to a fire & gas system, you will also require a central point to operate the interface.

The list of system functions which require centralized control can be easily extended. Just think of:

  • System failure reporting
  • Maintenance tasks including the upload of a new configuration file
  • Interfacing of external systems such as telephone or control room systems.

Conclusion: For many functions, which are state-of the art in industrial communication, so called “decentralized” systems need one or more logical central entities. If a system does not have any central control unit at all, this means that the functional range and the reliability of the system are quite limited. It is a matter of fact that complex functions cannot be implemented reliably in a completely decentralized system.

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Categories: Technology
March 11, 2014

New Terms added to INDUSTRONIC’s Glossary

Screenshot

INDUSTRONIC’s Glossary

Do you know the difference between a router and a switch?

No? Then, have a look at INDUSTRONIC’s online glossary. It includes a selection of common INDUSTRONIC terms and specific terms used among industry experts. To display the different entries, click on the desired letter in the alphabet or enter the word you are looking for into the search field.

If you want to display an overview with all terms from A to Z which are included in the glossary, click the PDF link on the right.

Recently, we added new networking terms to the glossary. Now, you will also find definitions for router, switch, WLAN, VLAN, etc.

INDUSTRONIC’s glossary is regularly updated with new terms and definitions. If the term you are looking for is not in the glossary or if you have any questions regarding an entry, please leave a reply.

To view the glossary, please click the following link http://www.industronic.com/nc/global/english/info-center/glossary/. You will be forwarded to INDUSTRONIC’s Info Center.

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Categories: Knowledge
March 3, 2014

Training at INDUSTRONIC – Tailored to your Needs

Training at INDUSTRONICFor more than 15 years INDUSTRONIC has offered training courses to their customers and partners from around the world. Over the years, the need for training and the requirements have grown constantly. Due to the change from analog to digital technology the systems have become more and more complex. At the same time, we have developed new products leading to an extension of our product portfolio. This makes training courses even more important. 

Now, we hold around 45 different training courses for customers, system integrators, or partners every year. The major part of them takes place in our headquarters in Wertheim in our modern and well-equipped training rooms. But we are also flexible and can offer training worldwide, directly on site. Read more »

February 27, 2014

Priority-controlled Communication

Industrial communication and public address systems provide various functions. They propagate life-saving information in dangerous situations, ensure fast and process-related communication and provide various interfaces (see Intercom and PA/GA).

Communication procedures can be assigned with different priority levels so that the operators maintain control over the situation. This is the case, when several events occur at the same time, e.g. a voice connection needs to be established and an alarm triggered. Based on the priority, the system decides which function is executed. Read more »

February 18, 2014

Ingress Protection Ratings Explained

Click on the screenshot to view the PDF.

                Click on the screenshot to view the PDF.

The ingress protection ratings (short form: IP ratings or also called IP codes) classify the degree of protection that an electrical appliance provides against the ingress of solid objects, dust, accidental contact, and water. The different IP ratings are included in the IEC 60529 standard developed through the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

An IP rating consists of two digits followed by optional letters to provide additional information related to the protection of the device. The first digit stands for the protection against solid objects (including body parts such as hands or fingers) and the second one for the protection against water. Find an overview chart describing the two digits by clicking the screenshot on the right.

There also exists a second standard, the NEMA 250. IP ratings are primarily used in Europe, whereas the NEMA ratings are used in the USA. IP and NEMA ratings are not identical, but similar and can be compared. IP ratings only consider the protection against the ingress of solid objects and water, whereas NEMA ratings also consider other characteristics such as corrosion protection, construction details, and environmental requirements.

Find an IP ratings chart and a NEMA ratings chart with IP rating equivalents in the PDF to compare these two ratings. This PDF can also be downloaded from our Info Center. For more in depth information on the NEMA 250 standard, please visit the following website http://www.nema.org/. Also visit the website of the IEC to find more details about the IEC 60529 standard: http://www.iec.ch/.

INDUSTRONIC uses the European IP ratings for its products. The digital explosion-proof (hazardous area) intercom stations of the DX/DXE 0×5 series are rated IP66, for example. The first digit means that the intercom station is dust tight. There is no ingress of dust and it is completely protected against contact. The second digit indicates that powerful water jets against the housing don’t have a harmful effect.

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February 11, 2014

Approved Quality – Our Way to Receiving DNV Type Approval

Applications & Product Management: a post by our colleague Thomas Merz

During the last few years more and more customers have asked for maritime offshore certificates, especially the DNV Type Approval.

Therefore we started in late 2012 by assessing the DNV approval requirements for offshore PA/GA systems.

DSCN1596

First, we decided on the components of the INTRON-D plus system which were important for us to pass the certification process. The final system for approval was designed as a high level secured  A+B System in shared operation. Our intention behind this was to build a system with as many components as possible from our construction kit in order to ensure that the options most required by our customers were covered. We selected our outdoor, explosion-proof, as well as our indoor intercom stations and the IP based Access Panel for the certification process as each of them has the option for redundant system interconnection.

In early 2013, we started with the laboratory tests to evaluate electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), vibration and various environmental conditions. After making minor adjustments to the system, we passed all tests meeting the international standards required (e.g. SOLAS, DNV standard for certification 2.4, IMO A.1021(26), LSA Code, etc.) and forwarded the reports to DNV Norway for approval.

Finally, an examiner of DNV Norway visited us in Wertheim to verify that our INTRON-D plus system complies with the DNV rules and guidelines. During his visit, all functions required for a PA/GA system were successfully tested, e.g.:

•    General Alarm mutes entertainment system
•    General Alarm activates ship whistle
•    PA emergency announcement mutes an external General Alarm temporarily

Fulfilling all criteria required during this performance test was the final step toward approval.

In October 2013, we received our DNV Type Approval Certificate for the INTRON-D plus system. This proves our commitment to ensuring that our high quality standards are met in the offshore market.

DSCN1579

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Categories: Inside INDUSTRONIC