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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
This week we would like to introduce you to the “Engineers of Communication”. Watch our corporate video and learn who we are, what we do, and why we have been successful for 50 years now.
We look forward to receiving your comments on our new corporate video!
Starting in 1964, INDUSTRONIC was able to steadily expand its business when the projects were managed from the headquarter.
But with the introduction of the INTRON and INTRON-S systems in the 1980s and after introducing our first emergency call system in 1991 significant location changes became inevitable.
The INDUSTRONIC management understood that due to customer’s needs a quicker handling of occurring failures was essential. Therefore the target was to provide technical on-site service (installation, commissioning and maintenance) all over Germany.
Until this time, in the beginning of the 1990s, INDUSTRONIC was only present with its headquarter in Wertheim (Baden-Wuerttemberg) and for a short time with a technical office in Muehlheim a. d. Ruhr (North Rhine-Westphalia).
With the opening of the Service Office in Ludwigshafen (Rhineland Palatinate), first actions towards expansion were taken in 1992. The goal was to build an office from there the on-site service activities could be planned.
Just three years later, INDUSTRONIC was able to expand again and opened a Customer Service Center in Dormagen (North Rhine-Westphalia). Our highly qualified staff offers a 24 hours on-site service on 365 days a year and is also responsible for diverse sales activities such as consulting, planning and training.
Whereas the Center started with just seven employees, today 15 motivated staff members are looking forward to realize our customer’s projects, always working closely together with the colleagues in the headquarter in Wertheim.
In 2002, additionally to the foundation of INDUSTRONIC Beijing, the second Service Office was opened at the Hoechst Industrial Park near Frankfurt a. M. (Hesse).
Similar to the office in Ludwigshafen, the main function of this location is to provide a base for the INDUSTRONIC Technical Service employees. From there the service assignments are coordinated.
To make sure that the customer support also covers South and North Germany, INDUSTRONIC decided to put up another Customer Service Center in Berlin, in 2007.
Today INDUSTRONIC offers worldwide customer support with a network of certified partners and representatives which will be steadily expanded.
For more information, please click here.
Our business partners praise the high quality of INDUSTRONIC systems. However, it sometimes occurs that customers or partners need support. This is when our Technical Support Center (TSC) comes into play. Four competent colleagues are here to answer your technical questions regarding already installed INDUSTRONIC systems and products. To better handle the incoming inquiries we implemented a ticket system.
Full-duplex | Half-duplex | Simplex
Communication systems are point-to-point systems, where two devices or groups / parties are connected.
Some devices can communicate in both directions, simultaneously. These two paths or channels can transmit audio or data
Full-duplex systems can also be employed in communication / control networks to allow two-way communication or to use the reverse path for monitoring or remote control of field equipment.
If the devices don’t establish their communication paths simultaneously but in a competing way, then we speak of half-duplex connections or links.
Some systems do not need full- or half-duplex capabilities and use simplex communication instead. The source sends and the target just receives the data / audio (speak / listen).
Examples for simplex communication are: broadcast radio or wireless microphones.
But simplex communication philosophy won’t be our story today…
A full-duplex system allows communication in two directions, different to others, it happens simultaneously. Normal telephones are full-duplex devices, since they allow both subscribers to listen and speak at the same time.
In industrial communication systems often handsets are used for full-duplex voice transmission, due to the high ambient noise and the risk of acoustic feedback.
Also station-to-station connections in full-duplex mode are possible and used in industrial environments. Feedback suppressors, DSPs and echo cancellers are techniques to get adequate results of full-duplex performance.
But remember: Harsh environment conditions and high ambient noise can destroy your plan to use full-duplex due to the ‘Unwanted Effects’.
Full-duplex and the ‘Unwanted Effects’
Acoustic feedback is an unwanted effect that causes the system to override with a constant tone. Everybody has already heard this effect on pop or rock concerts.
The reason is that the output from speaker is fed into the microphone, then amplified and finally fed again into microphone with an increased volume level and so on. This effect has to be suppressed, because the intelligibility goes to zero.
Acoustic feedback suppression can be done mechanically and / or electrically.
An Echo is an effect that let you hear yourself with a certain delay. It is very disturbing while you speak and get you rather confused. The reason of that effect is that the return (listen) line is fed from the far end and comes back with a delay.
This effect should also be removed? – Of course it should!
These aspects above make it worth to have an eye on…
A half-duplex system also enables communication in both directions, but not simultaneously. This means only one direction is used at a time. Examples are a walkie-talkie or push-to-talk communication stations.
Push-to-talk is a good synonym for half-duplex voice communication: Push button to talk, release to listen. This is a common procedure in industrial communication systems due to the demands of process communication mainly in the steel industry or on water treatment plants.
Who is the winner?
For industrial applications with their very special and acoustically difficult surroundings with high ambient noise you will not find the ‘One and Only Solution’.
Depending on the working environment and demands, a half-duplex connection can be the medium of choice, due to a disciplined communication style (push-to-talk, release-to-listen).
For other applications, a full-duplex connection is the only way to go – e.g. if a worker has no hands free for a push-to-talk operation or in terms of telephone conversations when you want to communicate ‘In Private’.
In April we wrote about how an offshore commissioning trip might be conducted.
Now we would like to give you a brief explanation why certain certificates are needed before being able to work on an offshore platform and how to obtain them.
To be allowed to step on an offshore platform, commissioners and other personnel need to prove that they received special training complying with international standards and that they learned how to react properly in emergency situations at sea.
Well-known standards worldwide are OPITO (Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation) and NOGEPA (Netherlands Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Association).
Various international providers train and certify attendees (groups, mostly up to 12 participants) according to the standards mentioned above. Usually the certificates are valid for four years and the training has to be repeated regularly.
BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Response Training) is a basic training course with the aim to prepare the participants for appropriate behavior in a general case of emergency at sea.
The HUET & EBS (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training and Emergency Breathing System) course, for example, focuses on training the right behavior in case of a helicopter crash. In this course you learn how to exit a helicopter that sinks and/ or that is about to capsize. Furthermore, you practice how to open a helicopter window and how to use an emergency respirator under water.
Both training courses are usually split into two parts. The theoretical lectures built the foundation and the basic knowledge, whereas the practical parts stick out with simulated crashes and maritime search and rescue (SAR) exercises.
To take part in a course like this a participant should show a good level of physical fitness.
Generally, platform operators decide which standards have to be fulfilled by their employees. At the moment there is no superior certificate which combines all relevant standards. Therefore, depending on the platform and its operators, you may need different certificates.
For more information, please have a look at the following websites:
Have you already done a certified offshore safety training? Please feel free to tell us about your experience!
A post by our colleague Roland Leuthe, Head of Development “Systems Software”
In one of our last blog articles we explained the basic characteristics of the different transmission modes of communication: unicast, multicast, and broadcast. How can these different modes now be reasonably implemented into industrial communication systems?
First I would like to start with some short definitions to bring back to mind the differences between the modes.
Unicast mode (point-to-point transmission) means one sender sends data to one receiver. The receiver optionally acknowledges that the information has been received correctly.
Multicast mode (point-to-multipoint transmission) means one sender sends data to a group of N receivers for which the data is intended for. Typically, the sender receives no acknowledgements from the group if they received the data correctly.
Broadcast mode (point-to-multipoint transmission) means one sender sends data to all members of a subnet whether they are interested in the data or not. Just as with multicast, the sender typically doesn’t receive acknowledgements from the receivers.
In industrial communication systems, different types of data are transmitted. On the one hand there is media data (e.g. audio, video) and on the other hand control data (e.g. call setup/termination) and signaling data (e.g. a flashing LED at an intercom station indicates an incoming call).
Control and Signaling Data
Almost all control protocols used in telecommunication and in the IP world are point-to-point protocols, i.e. they use the unicast mode. This mode ensures secure transmission of data and reliable control processing as a request or command has to be acknowledged by the receiver (positive or negative acknowledgement). The sender then knows if the information has been received correctly or not. Hence, for control and signaling data unicast is the best transmission mode. Let’s take a look at two application examples to show you why. Read more »
Important components of an Intercom and PA/GA system, which are critical and essential for the proper functioning of the system, should be redundant to increase system reliability.
In order to meet the highest safety demands, INDUSTRONIC provides different redundancy concepts. These can be adapted to customer and site requirements and guarantee optimum protection and safety for personnel and machines.
INDUSTRONIC’s redundancy concepts are often used in challenging environments, e.g. offshore applications, but also in other industrial environments, where absolute reliability of communication and warning systems has top priority.
In this and in later blog posts I would like to give an overview on the different redundancy concepts INDUSTRONIC offers. This first post focuses on Component Redundancy.
At INDUSTRONIC, we distinguish between two different types of component redundancy concepts: N+1 Redundancy and
N+1 Redundancy is defined as follows:
For this redundancy concept one or several active components (N) are backed by exactly one backup component (+1) in hot standby mode. As soon as an active component fails, the backup component takes over the complete functions of the defective component. The failure of a second active component cannot be compensated.
1+1 Redundancy is defined as follows:
For this redundancy concept one active component (1) is backed by exactly one backup component (+1) in hot standby mode. As soon as an active component fails, the corresponding backup component takes over the complete functions of the defective component. This way several failures can be compensated.
When comparing these two component redundancy concepts you will realize that N+1 Redundancy provides a standard backup protection, whereas the 1+1 Redundancy concept guarantees increased availability of components, as even several component failures can be compensated at the same time. We at INDUSTRONIC will assist you to find the solution that fits your requirements the most.
INDUSTRONIC’s component redundancy concepts are used in the following three basic redundancy concepts and can also be combined with each other:
- Single System with N+1 Components
- Duplicated Control System (hot stand-by operation)
- A+B System (shared operation)
Learn more about them and the possible combinations in my follow-up posts coming soon.
OTC Sets Attendance Record in 2014
OTC 5-8 May
With more than 108,300 visitors at Reliant Park, the Offshore Technology Conference reached a 46-year high (www.otcnet.org).
INDUSTRONIC would like to take the chance to thank everyone for visiting our booth in the German Pavilion at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas.
It was another outstanding experience and we enjoyed the inspiring conversations with visitors as well as exhibitors.
The presentation of our new networkable public adress unit “NPA” was a total success and created much interest.
Thank you very much again and we hope to see you at our next exhibition soon.