How to Deploy Industrial Wireless Solutions


| 2 May, 2024
How to Deploy Industrial Wireless Solutions
Deploying industrial wireless solutions is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires strategic planning, and operational foresight. The rewards, however, are immense, with wireless technology opening the doors to innovation and agility.

Successful industrial operations heavily depend on the evolving technologies both inside and outside the factory. Industrial wireless solutions play a significant role in driving the manufacturing process forward. While wired communications remain widely in use, wireless data transfer is taking over rapidly.

From small-scale machinery communication to large-scale industrial wireless sensor networks, wireless solutions are a major part of the Industry 4.0 foundation.

Understanding how to deploy industrial wireless solutions is key to transitioning to the wireless factory and taking industrial automation to the next level. Let’s take a closer look at bridging the gap between standard wireless protocols and the complex needs of industrial environments.

Step #1: Understand the Technology

Before diving into wireless industrial deployment, the right technology needs to be defined. Wireless solutions for the factory floor must operate in harsh conditions, have low latencies for precise control, and often require a higher degree of stability.

One such technology is IO-Link Wireless, which allows for the transfer of sensor data, actuator data, and control. The role of IO-Link Wireless in smart factory operations is hard to underestimate. 

The Versatility of IO-Link Wireless

IO-Link Wireless technology provides a simple and reliable wireless interface for sensors and actuators, facilitating machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. It extends the scope of IO-Link technology to dynamic and hard-to-reach applications that were once handled by cables. This includes robotics, process automation, and mobile transport systems. Its coexistence with other wireless systems (such as the factory’s Wi-Fi network) makes the transition to a wireless platform efficient and seamless.

Step #2: Define Objectives

Every wireless deployment should be anchored in clear objectives. Such objectives should be identified at the outset. They must directly influence technology choices, solution design, and the success metrics of the deployment.

Why You Need Industrial Wireless Solutions

The reasons for introducing wireless solutions into industrial settings vary. Some aim to automate certain labor-intensive tasks, others to improve predictive maintenance, or enhance the communication between disparate parts of the production line. Whatever the case may be, establishing the ‘whys’ forms a reality check on the necessity of wireless solutions for your specific use case.

Setting Clear Indicators for Success

Once you identify the key reasons for going wireless, you need to set the metrics for success. Among other things, these may include:

  • Looking at the machine downtime before and after converting to wireless
  • Increased productivity
  • Cost savings in infrastructure or maintenance

These indicators will be your barometer to measure the effectiveness of switching to industrial wireless communications. 

Step #3: Design a Solution

Designing an industrial wireless solution is more than selecting suitable wireless devices and turning them on. It’s a comprehensive undertaking that involves planning, analysis, simulation, and optimization of the network before any equipment is purchased or deployed.

Specifying Network Architecture

The architecture of your wireless network should be aligned with your operational needs and the physical layout of your facility. This could be a simple star network for smaller sites or a more complex mesh network for larger areas.

System Parameters and Wireless Node Locations

Parameters such as transmission power, data rate, modulation schemes, and frequency agility need to be tailored to ensure optimal network performance. Similarly, wireless nodes should be strategically positioned to minimize interference and maintain signal integrity.

Validating the Capabilities of the Solution Design

Simulating the proposed wireless solution in a controlled environment can reveal potential issues and allow for preemptive adjustments. This step not only validates the capabilities of the design but also helps in setting benchmarks for performance expectations.

Step #4: Deploy the Industrial Wireless Solution

Once the wireless solution has been carefully designed, the next phase is deployment. This involves the installation, operation, and maintenance of the network.

Installation and Configuration

Physical installation of wireless equipment is just the beginning. Proper configuration of each component, including network settings, and data transmission parameters, is critical for smooth operation.

Continuous Maintenance

An industrial wireless network is not a set-it-and-forget-it system. Firmware updates, equipment monitoring, and periodic reconfiguration is necessary to address any performance degradation. It can also help with incorporating technological advancements.

Getting Started with Deployment

Deploying industrial wireless solutions is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires strategic planning, and operational foresight. The rewards, however, are immense, with wireless technology opening the doors to innovation and agility. 

IO-Link Wireless is making the deployment process easier and more effective. Its standardized, scalable framework can be the cornerstone of your wireless strategy, empowering your factory to operate seamlessly.