Wireless LAN Technology for the Factory Floor: Challenges and Approaches

Authored by: Andreas Willig

Industrial Communication Technology Handbook

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9781482207323
eBook ISBN: 9781482207330
Adobe ISBN:


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Wireless communication systems have diffused into an ever-increasing number of application areas and have achieved wide popularity. Wireless telephony and wireless mobile Internet access are now an important part of our daily lives, and wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies—for example, WiFi-based—have become more and more the primary way to access business and personal data. Two important benefits of wireless technology are key to this success: the need for cabling is greatly reduced, and computers as well as users can be truly mobile. This saves costs and enables new applications. In factory plants, wireless technology can be used in several interesting ways [37,113,116]:

WLAN technology can provide the communications services for distributed control applications [42] involving mobile subsystems like autonomous transport vehicles, robots, or turntables.

Implementation of distributed control systems in explosible areas or in the presence of aggressive chemicals.

Frequent plant reconfiguration gets easier as fewer cables have to be remounted.

Mobile plant diagnosis systems and wireless stations for programming and on-site configuration.

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