Comtrol’s RocketLinx Switch “the Edge of the Network” for Mcity
The University of Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation, designed and built Mcity, a unique urban-suburban environment for testing connected and automated vehicles and systems.
Mcity sits on a 32-acre site on the University of Michigan’s North Campus, with more than 16 acres of roads and infrastructure. It includes approximately five lane-miles of roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, benches, simulated buildings, street lights, and obstacles such as construction barriers. This environment allows the testing of new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, in a safe, controlled, but otherwise real-world environment.
At Mcity, each set of traffic signal devices in an intersection, on-ramp, rail crossing, crosswalk, etc. is connected to the facility’s traffic management network via a dedicated fiber link using Comtrol’s ES8510-XT switch. This network then consolidates each of those connections onto a high-speed backbone, which in turn connects to a state-of-the-art traffic control center, located near Mcity at the U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
Automation Integrator uses Comtrol for Device Connectivity
DeviceMaster UP 2-port 2E
A leading integrator of factory automation and robotics solutions selected the Comtrol DeviceMaster UP 2-port 2E for a production line cell for forging spindles. In this application laser markers communicating via Ethernet TCP/IP were used to apply a serial number to the spindles. The commands were sent to the marker through a PLC running Profinet. Further down the process, the spindles are loaded into a dunnage box that is applied with a label that lists the part number, date/ time, and operator ID. This data is passed to an Ethernet TCP/IP label printer from a Profinet PLC through the DeviceMaster UP 2-port 2E.
Comtrol’s DeviceMaster UP 2-port 2E was the perfect solution because it can connect multiple TCP/IP Ethernet interface devices to an Industrial Ethernet protocol. In addition to Profinet, these devices can also connect to Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP controllers.
The DeviceMaster UP provides the following communication modes:
- EtherNet/IP™ to Serial or Ethernet TCP/IP
- PROFINET IO to Serial or Ethernet TCP/IP
- Modbus/TCP to Serial or Ethernet TCP/IP
- Modbus/TCP to Modbus/RTU
- Modbus/RTU Device (Auto Locate and Auto Route)
- TCP/IP Socket Communication
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Paint Spraying Operation Integrates IO-Link
A furniture manufacturer was in need of a time and money saving solution. This company needed something that could identify the size of sections of furniture on the paint spraying line and thus reduce over-spraying and wasting paint. Leuze’s CML720i light curtains that were IO-Link enabled were chosen to accurately measure piece dimensions. They also needed an IO-Link master block that could handle the power requirements and effectively communicate with the PLC.
The CML720i light curtains are positioned at the entrance of a paint powder coating machine which tell the automated paint guns when to spray and when to turn off, based on the size of the piece moving through. Before this solution, spray guns would turn on well before a piece arrived and remained on well after, which over time wastes a large amount of paint. They also wanted to avoid spraying the hooks connected to the conveyor system which guided the pieces through the painting machine. All of this information is communicated to a PLC running on EtherNet/IP via the Comtrol IO-Link master 8-EIP.
By using Leuze’s CML720i light curtains that are IO-Link version 1.1 devices, they are able to save parameters set for the CML720i light curtains right in the Comtrol IO-Link master by using an IO-Link feature called Data Storage. This allows the customer to easily replace a CML720i light curtain and automatically upload the previously saved settings to the newly connected curtain. This eliminates the need to configure the device from the default state.
Comtrol was able to meet the needs of this application in a number of ways. The IO-Link Master 8-EIP supports high power current support, including 1.6 amps on port #1, which is required to operate the large CML720i light curtains. The IO-Link Master also provides power overload protection. If a device is connected that is attempting to pull more power than can be provided, the IO-Link Master will shut down that port once a certain threshold is exceeded. When the power draw subsides, the port will re-activate. In addition, the powerful web-interface provides the customer will multiple benefits that most master blocks do not.
For example, the web-interface allows the user to:
- Save IODD files in a library
- Utilize data storage
- Change the parameters of a device right in the web-page
- Use device validation to allow a specific device to work on a specified port
- Configure ports to operate as an IO-Link port, Digital Input or Digital Output
- Look at PLC diagnostics
For more information, please contact Brandon Roy.
IO-Link Connection Technology
In this video, Nolan Kariniemi will be discussing IO-Link Connection Technology. Watch this short video to learn about IO-Link Devices and Diagnostics and Comtrol’s Web Interface.
PRODUCT RELEASE: DeviceMaster ® RTS 4-Port DB9 2E
The DeviceMaster RTS 4P2E is the 4-port model of Comtrol’s popular line of industrially-focused DIN-rail mount serial device servers. Packaged in a compact, rugged housing, the RTS 4P2E model provides four serial ports via standard DB9 male connectors with the additional benefit of a two-port Ethernet switch to support a variety of network installations. Featuring the same Linux and Windows certified drivers, SSL/SSH security, and intuitive configuration as the rest of the industry-leading DeviceMaster family, the small-form factor RTS 4P2E is the perfect serial expansion solution for panel builders, cabinet installations or any application where performance demands are high but space is at a premium.
- Wide DC input voltage range (5-30 volts)
- Redundant power input for fail-safe power
- RS-232/422/485 software selectable interfaces
- DB9 male serial connectors
- PortVision DX
- Screw terminal power connector
- Dual Ethernet ports for daisy-chaining devices
- 25KV surge protection for serial ports
- Features DIN rail mounting
- Wide operating temperature range (-40º to 75º C)
- NEMA TS2 certified
- SSL & SSH management, SSL serial data stream encryption
- Wide input power range
- IPv6 support
- Real-time email event notification
The DeviceMaster RTS 4-Port DB9 2E serial device server can be used to network-enable two serial devices on any Ethernet network and is ideal for applications in: traffic and transportation, power utility, industrial automation, material handling and any project that requires serial-to-Ethernet communication with DIN rail-based equipment installations.
For more information or to request an evaluation unit, contact email@example.com or 763.957.6000
Mining Application Using IO-Link Master and PC
A North American mining systems integrator implemented a solution for a mining application company seeking a better way to identify particle size and increase awareness of jams on their mineral fragmentation conveyor line.
Mining Application Using IO-Link Master
Comtrol’s IO-Link Master 4-EIP, with the IO-Link laser distance sensor connected, helped them achieve both of these tasks. The main reasons they decided to use Comtrol’s IO-Link master were:
- Comtrol’s master is able to work directly with a PC, no PLC required
- Other IO-Link master solutions rely on a PLC to use and set up the master, which was not desired for this mining application
- The ease of set-up, powerful web interface and Modbus TCP support were other determining factors.
The end-user was using a vision system for analyzing mineral fragmentation on a conveyor line. The mineral would be broken down and sent along the line where the vision system would ensure the particle size was correct.
However, problems exist with picking up accurate readings when the bed depth, or amount of mineral on the line, is great. Working with Comtrol’s IO-Link Master that is used to connect the IO-Link distance sensor has helped the company increase their accuracy with reading the bed depth. The laser distance sensor is also used to pick up the distance to the top layer of mineral going down the line which helps normalize the data along with the vision system. This improves accuracy in analyzing mineral particle sizes as the line moves along.
To continue reading the story, click here.
To learn more about Comtrol’s IO-Link Master, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access Control UL294/294B Regulations: Why Do They Matter?
Access Control UL294 is the standard of safety for Access Control System units that all access control systems must meet. UL294B is a newer standard, specifically for the use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) components used within access control systems where PoE is the primary power source.
Government and state regulations are moving toward required access control UL294 compliance. Comtrol’s RocketLinx ACS7106 is the first UL294B certified switch enabling confidence in deployment and integration within access control systems.
The ACS7106 switch features four 10/100BASE-TX PoE Plus ports for providing power and data to remote PDs (Powered Devices) such as access card readers and IP surveillance cameras, and two 10/100/1000BASE-TX uplink ports that assure maximum throughput for high bandwidth applications.
The official site for the UL Standards states that:
SCOPE (Access Control UL294)
1.1 These requirements apply to the construction, performance, and operation of systems intended to regulate or control:
a) Entry into a protected area or a restricted area or
b) Access to or the use of a device(s) by electrical, electronic or mechanical means.
Meeting Your Network Needs: Unmanaged vs. Managed Switches Explained
The world is moving towards managed switches as complexity and demand increases. But what are the differences and how do you know which switch is going to be right for you?
An unmanaged switch reduces costs and simplifies the configuration process. On the other side, a managed switch is more intelligent, allows for new technology and application adjustments, as well as enabling better troubleshooting and most importantly increased security.
An unmanaged switch is less expensive at initial purchase. An unmanaged switch contains a fixed set of rules and will handle incoming data based on those rules. It’s important to note that the forwarding rules cannot be changed, which may increase downtime to discover and fix a problem. An unmanaged switch can simplify the configuration process or decrease the product cost in some of these areas; a less powerful processor, may contain less memory, fewer LEDs, fewer ports. Depending on your network needs those cost saving efforts can greatly benefit your company.
The best feature of a managed switch is its configurability. When using a managed switch you are free to adjust the rules for your application at any time, this can be very useful in the Industrial Automation field and many others. The configurability can save costs and downtime when you are free to separate your networks. The best way to benefit from this configurability would be to have an engineer in your company who understands the managed switch’s complexity. A managed switch offers other valuable resources such as; the support of VLANs, IGMP snooping, port mirroring, decreased downtime and increased security.
Comtrol offers a wide selection of industrial, enterprise, and hardened switches supporting 10/100/1000 Ethernet, fiber, and PoE applications. The end decision of a managed switch or unmanaged switch will be determined by your unique network needs.
Tech Tip: DTE and DCE
DTE – Data Terminal Equipment
DTE, short for Data Terminal Equipment is a device that controls data flowing to or from a computer. The term is most often used in reference to serial communications defined by the RS-232C standard. This standard defines the two ends of the communications channel as being a DTE, and a DCE device.
DCE – Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment
In practical terms, the DCE, or Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment, is usually a modem and the data terminal equipment is the computer itself, or more precisely, the computer’s UART chip.
Comtrol serial ports are Data Terminal Equipment devices except for products which have been specifically designed to be switchable from Data Terminal Equipment to Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment.
When connecting a Data Terminal Equipment device to another Data Terminal Equipment device it is necessary to use a Null Modem cable.
When connecting a Data Terminal Equipment device to a Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment device it is necessary to use a Straight Thru cable.
Comtrol at ITS Heartland
Comtrol will be attending ITS Heartland on April 25 to the 27 in Des Moines, Iowa. Attendees will have an opportunity to network and share experiences across a wide variety of ITS disciplines.
Comtrol at ITS Heartland
The many different training and networking opportunities available through this event will provide participants with the tools necessary to effectively plan and deploy ITS technologies within their own jurisdictions. Register Today!
Contact Katya Lee at 763-957-6122 to learn more.