September 19, 2014

The Spirit of the German Mittelstand

Logo_German Mittelstand (Source: www.bmwi.de)In times of economic crisis you can hear the term German Mittelstand as a reason for the relatively stable economy here in Germany. The small and medium-sized companies are a driving force for the growth of Germany’s economy. But why is that? What is so special about these companies?

Definition

Let us have a closer look at the phenomena German Mittelstand. Therefore, we first have to define the term. Here in Germany, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with up to 250 employees are called Mittelstand. But German Mittelstand implies more than just the size of the enterprises. There is a special spirit around these companies.

Here are some criteria which are typical for German Mittelstand companies:

  • family ownership,
  • independence,
  • special company culture,
  • lean management hierarchies,
  • long-term policies,
  • strong ties to the region.

Read more »

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September 12, 2014

Hybrid Systems – Combining Advantages of Centralized and Decentralized System Architecture

A post by our colleague Roland Leuthe, Head of Development “Systems Software” 

In one of our previous blog posts (“Centralized vs. Decentralized System Architecture”) we mentioned that complex functions or the connection of external interfaces cannot reliably be implemented when using a completely decentralized system architecture.

However, the major drawback of one centralized control unit is that a failure of said component leads to  a complete failure of the entire system. Of course, for systems with high safety requirements such as PA/GA systems the central control unit is typically installed redundantly to increase system reliability. In case the main control unit fails, the redundant unit ensures the proper operation of the system.

Central_System

Though a redundant configuration provides increased protection in case of failure it is not recommended for large systems to connect all terminals and external interfaces to one single control unit.

A more sophisticated solution would be a hybrid system architecture. This means that the overall function of a system is distributed to several, locally separated communication nodes. Each node is responsible for one sub-area of the overall system and controls all components and terminals of this specific area. All communication nodes of the overall system can be composed of a flat or hierarchical structure. Read more »

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September 4, 2014

Introducing INDUSTRONIC Singapore

Office Building in Singapore

Foreseeing the potential business in Singapore and South-East Asia and considering the growth of its customer base there, INDUSTRONIC
decided to make a major investment in this area.

Consequently, in 2013, INDUSTRONIC was happy to announce the foundation of its South-East Asia Representative Office in Singapore.

It is a great advantage for INDUSTRONIC to have an office with the same culture and time zone as its customers thus offering improved support and collaboration in the South East Asian region.

With Mr. Bobby Tay as Director of this office INDUSTRONIC has found a good business partner to enhance INDUSTRONIC’s presence and to further its business expansion more rapidly in this part of the world. With his many years of industrial experience and his substantial track record his expertise is an additional value INDUSTRONIC brings to its customers.

Six months of busy and enriching activities followed immediately after the opening of the Representative Office.

During this time, our new colleague has been visiting customers in South East Asia, promoting INDUSTRONIC’s products, systems and solutions, exchanging ideas and views among experts, improving knowledge transfer, holding presentations, arranging meetings and much more.

INDUSTRONIC is looking forward to the expansion of its Representative Office.

By assigning more responsibilities, tasks and functions to it, INDUSTRONIC is confident that its customers will benefit from it and that INDUSTRONIC can achieve its main objective: conducting successful projects in close team work with its customers!

To contact Mr. Bobby Tay / INDUSTRONIC’s Representative Office in Singapore, please write an email to:

bobby.tay@industronic.sg

August 28, 2014

Direct Two-way Communication

From unidirectional voice announcements through to conferences with several subscribers – communication and public address systems provide a wide range of functions. For you to gain an insight into the possibilities of such systems I would like to use this blog to introduce you to different functions in the coming weeks and months. This week I would like to start with “Direct Two-way Communication“.

Two-way Communication

In principle, a two-way connection provides communication in both directions (bidirectional) where two subscribers can speak and listen alternately, but not simultaneously. One subscriber speaks and the other listens. Only after one subscriber has finished his message and has released the key, the other can answer.

To establish a direct two-way connection you require at least two intercom stations of any type with one direct call key each. A direct call key is a key with which you can establish a voice connection to a pre-defined target by pressing it down.

You require an individual direct call key for each target. If you want to establish direct two-way connections to 5 different targets with your intercom station, you need 5 direct call keys.

Communication Procedure

To establish a two-way connection the operator at Station A presses the direct call key configured with Station B as target first, keeps it pressed and speaks into the microphone (Push-to-Talk). The subscriber at Station B listens to the message.

As soon as the operator at Station A releases the key, the subscriber at Station B can answer (step 2). To do this, he presses the direct call key configured with Station A as target, keeps it pressed and speaks into the microphone (step 3). So both subscribers can speak and listen alternately, but not simultaneously.

The following illustration shows the communication procedure.

Direct Two-way Communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Signaling

LEDs at the keys indicating the different connection states are helpful for the operator personnel. I already described the most common types of signaling in one of my last blog articles (please refer to Key Signaling).

Priorities

You can also assign a priority for each two-way connection. This means that an active connection remains busy for other subscribers with the same or a lower priority. The connection can only be interrupted by a voice connection or function with a higher priority.

Download a more detailed version of this blog article as PDF here.

 

August 22, 2014

INDUSTRONIC furthers Education

 

INDUSTRONIC_Trainees

 

More than 500,000 German school graduates took their first step into working life and started their apprenticeship in 2013.

Also this year approximately 470.000 companies in Germany are looking forward to guide the young people through the approaching challenges.

For more than 20 years INDUSTRONIC has employed trainees on a regular basis.

On average, two adolescents per year are trained in cooperation with vocational schools.

The German educational system is based upon a dual approach. Apprentices are trained in the companies, where they learn the practical part of their profession. Likewise they learn about the theory in vocational schools. Read more »

August 12, 2014

Creative Heads – A Youth Competition in Wertheim

Luca WeiseFor more than ten years, the competition „Creative Heads“ (in German: Kreative Köpfe) is held in the cities Bad Mergentheim and Tauberbischofsheim. Four years ago, Wertheim took part in this contest for the first time.

It is a competition for young inventors from the age of 12 years. One of the main objectives is to motivate young people to put their ideas into practice, since they are especially creative. In collaboration with the companies from Wertheim, pupils can develop innovative products based on their own visions and ideas.

Furthermore the competition offers the students a possibility to have an insight into technical professions.

It is not rare to see that companies are interested in using the adolescents’ creativity for their own purposes. At the end of the contest participants are confronted with patent applications, sometimes. The reason for patents arises in the fact that until a further agreement is reached, the right to the invention lies with the juveniles.

This year INDUSTRONIC supports the young inventor Luca Weise with his thought of a “clear view”.

Our contestant developed an automatic traffic light identification module.

The idea behind the innovative invention is to acoustically warn a driver when the color of a traffic light is not recognizable due to solar radiation.

Along with our instructor for technical professions, Luca was able to develop and implement his automatic traffic light identification module. His efforts paid off. Luca won second place in the category “Innovation & Creativity”.

To this we congratulate our inventor warmly!

For more information about the competition, its participants and winners, please click here.

Luca Weise and the clear view

August 8, 2014

INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Duplicated Control System

The topic of today’s blog post is the Duplicated Control System (hot stand-by operation), another basic system redundancy concept.

Please refer to the previous articles about this topic: “Introducing INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts” and “INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Single System with N+1 Components” if you need more background information before reading this post.

The Duplicated Control System consists of an active control unit (the Main Unit) which consists of all components of the central exchange unit (e.g. exchange control board, line cards, digital audio processor (DAP), power supply, etc.) and a second control unit in hot stand-by mode (the Secondary Unit) which is equipped with exactly the same components. Usually both the Main Unit and the Secondary Unit are installed in the same cabinet so that there is only little installation space required.

Both control units are synchronized. In case a component of the Main Unit fails the second control unit is automatically activated. After the failure is eliminated switching back can be carried out manually via software interface or if available via keypress at a service intercom station.

By default all intercom stations, amplifiers, speakers, beacons and F&G contacts are connected to both control units to provide high component availability.

Optionally, INDUSTRONIC can provide additional component protection by integrating the digital audio processor (DAP) and the power supply in N+1 configuration for each control unit.

Compared to the Single System with N+1 Components this redundancy concept ensures higher protection as all components of the central exchange unit are duplicated and not only the most critical components.

In my next blog article you will get to know the A+B System (shared operation) concept.

DuplicatedControlSystem

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August 1, 2014

INDUSTRONIC Barbecue

Last week we had our annual INDUSTRONIC Barbecue. The weather was fantastic, the timing perfect. As always the entire team had lots of fun, heaps of great food and a good time!

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July 23, 2014

Standards – Standard Interfaces – Connect the World

Standards – Which Standards?

As you might remember in the 80s and the early 90s there were so many standards as nearly every company created their own ‘standards’ and ‘standard interfaces’.

The reason was that the computer and communication technology was on an upswing in this era, everyone involved tried to sell his idea of standards and standard interfaces on the market.

Icon1

The regulatory agencies and accreditation bodies weren’t as present and dominant as they are nowadays.So nearly everybody pursued his own interests and almost no devices were compatible to each other.

The loser at the end was the customer, who wanted to get things working…

 

Interfaces – What Exactly Is It?

An industrial communication and warning system like the INTRON-D plus consists of many interfaces, not only in hardware but also in software. As INDUSTRONIC utilizes open source software, like LINUX, standard interfaces are used – from software development standards to standard industrial interfaces like Modbus/TCP through to standard hardware interfaces like USB.

Standards – And When to Use Them

Standard Interfaces are very useful if you want to interconnect with other systems. An industrial communication system often must be implemented in a plant-wide SCADA system or the status must be transmitted to a SNMP system.

Telephones and telephone systems (PABX) must be integrated. A SIP interface can solve this demand. If you can check off these (and some more) demands you will be ready for today’s industrial communication requirements.

Some of our supported standards are:

Not using standards make sense if you connect your own devices to your own system. The advantages are varied:

  • Very close implementation of special hard- and software functions
  • Very fast response times due to closer hardware interfaces
  • Own software protocols with advanced features compared to standards

 

In Conclusion

INDUSTRONIC has implemented the most useful and common industrial interfaces – in hardware and in software to interconnect all those devices, applications and technologies which we encounter in our business.

Icon2

We at INDUSTRONIC make also use of proprietary software and hardware interfaces to implement functions which are useful for our customers and necessary for our projects.

The INTRON-D plus system expands the functions of industrial communication and warning systems to one of the most versatile and user-friendly system worldwide.

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July 18, 2014

INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts – Single System with N+1 Components

In one of my recent blog posts I gave you a short introduction to INDUSTRONIC’s component redundancy concepts. Please refer to the “Introducing INDUSTRONIC’s Redundancy Concepts” article.

In the coming posts I would like to give you more details on the three basic redundancy concepts INDUSTRONIC offers:

  • Single System with N+1 Components
  • Duplicated Control System (hot stand-by operation)
  • A+B System (shared operation)

Redundancy Concepts

In today’s blog post I will focus on the Single System with N+1 Components which is defined as follows:

INDUSTRONIC provides a single system with the option to protect important components by exactly one backup component in hot stand-by mode. Hot stand-by mode means that the component is powered and ready for immediate service. In other words if the main component fails, there is an automatic switchover to this backup component which takes over completely after a short timeout. There is no manual intervention required.

INDUSTRONIC recommends the N+1 configuration of the power supply, the central exchange control board, the amplifiers and the digital audio processor (DAP) to provide increased component availability.

This redundancy concept is primarily used to protect individual components from failures caused by age or wear. It provides a standard backup protection for important and critical components at a reasonable price. Feel free to contact us if you need more details on this system redundancy concept.

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