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The Wireless Enterprise Line - A Solution

    Over two decades of engineering electronics has taught us a few things. Chief among them, how to build a quality board, and the need to make our products accessible to anyone. Enter our newest product offerings, the Wireless Enterprise Line. These products are the culmination of years of experience in the industrial IoT arena, combining ease of use with enterprise-level reliability and flexibility. Beginning with some widely requested sensors and moving into control applications, all of our WEL products are built with predictive maintenance and simplicity in mind. We understand the needs, and limitations, of large scale deployment in industrial environments, and have engineered these devices to bridge the gap. Our battery powered wireless sensors can report status several times a day for years without needing to provide them additional power, or mount them permanently. Our interrupt driven sensors can check in periodically, and push data out in case a reading is outside of a nominal range. All of these devices are mesh capable and have an incredible range, providing you total coverage of the largest factory, warehouse, or even farm. Check out our ever-growing list of available devices now!

The Wireless Enterprise Line boasts a range up to 2 miles with the standard antenna that comes included. Ranges of over 20 miles can be achieved with a proper antenna and setup.

Enterprise and IoT - The New Industrial Revolution

Industry Timeline

For centuries we have mass produced goods, from tools and weapons to food and automobiles. In that time, industry has constantly worked to improve the efficiency of the process. Beginning with the division of labor, maturing into the assembly line, and evolving to the powerful union of computers, machines, and employees that we see in all large scale production today. But with these accelerating improvements come challenges. How to maintain the connection between the essential constituents of these bigger, better facilities, and an ever changing world of computers and connectivity? This apparent dichotomy between the tangible machines, and intangible data and automation systems requires constant upkeep. Something as seemingly simple as getting a new computer becomes a major task when all of the components of your process must communicate in the same language. Even upgrading an operating system often requires updates of firmware on several devices to keep communication smooth.

As a hardware manufacturer, these idiosyncrasies have always felt like a thorn in our side. How do we keep our hardware accessible, and not become dependent on a technology that only some of our customers are tied to? Building native programs for each system people use comes with its own traps, maintenance becomes a nightmare, and some organizations are slow to adopt change because of the inherent difficulties in upgrading their entire system, leaving us with customers reliant on antiquated software. We address all of these concerns with the Wireless Enterprise Line. In these products we have taken a simple approach, keep the API open and easy, provide a platform independent method to access these devices, and let our customers build the system they need, not a system we force on them that will be obsolete in 3 years.

A properly configured WEL sensor can transmit data several times a day for a full 5 years without needing to replace the AA batteries that power it.

Protection Through Predictive Analytics

One of the biggest challenges we face in this new industrial revolution is maintenance of the technologies we rely on. Consider that Amazon, in 2017, shipped over 5 Billion (with a B) packages… to Prime members. That’s right, not total, just to prime members. These shipments came from around 140 fulfillment centers worldwide, that’s an average of 97,000+ per center, per DAY. Imagine what losing a conveyer belt at just one of those centers during the holidays might cost them. Preventative measures are an absolute requirement in this age of e-commerce and mass fulfillment, using sensors that can track temperature, humidity, vibration and a plethora of other metrics can help you predict when equipment might fail, and send a maintenance team to replace, say, a bearing or moisture seal before you start losing money. Covering the eventuality that machines will need repair can pay for itself very quickly.

scatter chart

But consider what else can be done with that data in this age of terabytes. Using the sophisticated AI software developed by giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, you can begin to predict when machines might fail, before you get that warning sign. Even more, you can begin to find patterns that may be causing faster degradation in your systems, and correct them to improve longevity in the parts that are prone to failure.

WEL products can communicate on different network IDs, and report to different gateways, or broadcast to all gateways, making scalability and data segmentation easy.

Avoiding Wireless Traffic Jams

frequency chart

In the age of information things have become increasing reliant on wireless communication. This has created opportunity for amazing advancements in how we interact with our devices, and our environment. Unfortunately, it has also brought a tremendous amount of congestion to the more commonly used frequencies, primarily 2.4 and 5GHz, which devices use to communicate with our Wi-Fi networks, and each other. Our Wireless Enterprise Line takes advantage of the less used 900MHz to keep your local network clear, regardless of the number of sensors you place, and extend the wireless range to dramatically more than can be achieved with 2.4GHz. Since our API packet structure is small (a necessity anyway for the extended battery life), the lower bandwidth of this frequency doesn’t impact the device’s performance, or your ability to receive data in a timely manner. On a busy factory floor, wireless frequencies are often tightly monitored, and the traffic controlled. Our use of 900MHz has been a big selling point with some of our largest clients who have policies against using the 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies in their factories and warehouses.

Our Wireless Enterprise Line devices can be mounted with a magnet, eliminating the need for professional, or time consuming hardware installation. Coupled with software like Node-Red, you can install, and read values from, sensors in minutes.

In the following article, we’ll walk you through setting up a couple of these sensors to view the data locally using an awesome tool called Node-RED. Be sure to check back for more articles we will be releasing soon!!

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