Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Unmanaged vs. Managed Switches for PROFINET Applications

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RocketLinx_group 1_leftFinding the right Ethernet switch

When determining the correct switch to use for a PROFINET application, choosing between a managed switch and an unmanaged switch is usually the first decision. Both types of switches are perfectly capable of operating via PROFINET, though the application or environment usually determines which type is the best option. Managed switches are typically used in industrial settings requiring configuration and/or monitoring options, whereas unmanaged switches are designed for plug-and-play, simple Ethernet communication applications.

A managed switch provides more information and customization options than an unmanaged switch, though at a higher cost. Managed switches provide information that can help prevent downtime while improving troubleshooting when a system goes down. When the cost of a system downtime runs high, so does the importance of using a managed switch. Unmanaged switches on the other hand, provide less information, but at less cost. An unmanaged switch is just that – unmanaged.  All a user has to do is plug it into a system and the device begins operating as expected.

Comtrol offers both managed and unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches for reliable network and system communication.  For more information and to help determine the correct switch for your application, please refer to our RocketLinx Industrial Ethernet and RocketLinx Power over Ethernet switch comparison charts. 

SUCCESS of IO-Link

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The IO-Link protocol is a powerful standard, and it has had an increasing influence on the device networking industry in recent years. According to a study conducted by Quest TechnoMarketing, referenced in an article from Profibus, 47% of machine manufacturing companies are expected to be using IO-Link technology by 2016. Furthermore, IO-Link has been implemented into the systems of nearly all PLC manufacturers. Fourteen fieldbus systems, along with the majority of sensor and actuator manufacturers, have followed suit.

IO-Link Master EtherNet/IP Comtrol

There are numerous reasons for IO-Link’s impressive growth, the first being the potential cost savings that go along with using IO-Link technology. According to Profibus, companies that switch to IO-Link protocol stand to save up to 30% on the costs of using alternative protocols. This savings is made possible by IO-Link’s simplistic cabling through standardization of interfaces and cables and faster troubleshooting with IO-Link’s diagnostic mechanisms. According to the research from Quest TechnoMarketing, upwards of 90% of IO-Link users in the study reported satisfaction with the IO-Link protocol.
The second reason for IO-Link’s growth, according to Quest TechnoMarketing, is its compatibility with most industry sectors. As stated before, nearly all PLC manufacturers have implemented IO-Link into their systems, along with 14 fieldbus systems and the majority of sensor and actuator manufacturers. This makes IO-Link a viable solution in any industry sector, from automotive and carpentry, to manufacturing and energy.

EIP-4 left lowComtrol, a member of the international IO-Link Consortium and named the North American IO-Link Competency Center, foresaw the success of IO-Link.  In 2010, we began developing a line of IO-Link products labeled IO-Link Masters. Comtrol’s IO-Link Master 4-EIP gateway is the industry’s highest density IO-Link gateway. Furthermore, The IO-Link to EtherNet/IP™ master combines the benefits of standard IO-Link with the EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP protocols. This allows easy integration of IO-Link Masters into system networks with existing or new industrial Ethernet installations.

Read more about IO-Link

CUSTOMER SOLUTION: Voltage Boost Technology for Mobile Surveillance

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Mobile Surveillance

With the prevalence of crime in America’s cities, it is essential that measures be taken for the safety of those who operate and use law enforcement vehicles or public transportation.

Mobile surveillance companies are helping to take these measures through manufacturing surveillance equipment that can be installed and operated in vehicles. However, a vehicle’s battery does not supply the higher voltage level required to support this surveillance equipment.

One major mobile surveillance company turned to Comtrol for a solution for this issue, and Comtrol recommended the RocketLinx ES7106-VB.  The RocketLinx ES7106-VB is an industrial Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch that includes Voltage Boost technology to supply power to equipment within a vehicle while continuing to receive and transfer data from the connected devices.  The switch is powered by the vehicle’s battery and the VB technology allows it to “boost” power up to 48V to the other devices on board, such as IP cameras, WIFI routers, and Network Video Recorders (NVRs) via Ethernet.  This two-in-one product was designed with precisely this application in mind, and the ability for the ES7106-VB to both power and connect to the devices within a vehicle was the determining feature for this mobile surveillance company’s decision.

The RocketLinx ES7106-VB is a rugged, plug-and-play industrial PoE switch that can operate in a wide variety of environments.  It can operate efficiently in temperatures ranging from -25° to +60°C.  Additionally, it is protected by IP30 industrial-grade aluminum housing to prevent any water or dust damage. Comtrol’s RocketLinx line of products is a staple of our dedication to durability and efficiency; the RocketLinx ES7106-VB is a perfect example of these qualities.

Comtrol’s RocketLinx Power over Ethernet switches are engineered for industrial, security, and transportation applications such as IP video surveillance and intersection monitoring, where the power source is not conveniently located.  With rugged, drip-proof housings, redundant power inputs and performance command-line interfaces, these Power over Ethernet switches provide reliable networking solutions.

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COMING SOON: Class 1, Division 2 Certified Switches

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Option4Electrical and industrial equipment installed in potentially hazardous locations need to be regulated by organizations to ensure they are acceptable for installation in volatile environments.  To guarantee equipment is suitable, rigorous tests must be completed and each product must be certified prior to installation.

For these types of critical applications, Comtrol has developed six new unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches based off the RocketLinx ES8105 and ES8108 switches, each holding a Class 1, Division 2 (C1D2) certification:

The C1D2 certification ensures that a device is suitable for areas where gases, vapors, and liquids are “not normally present in an explosive concentration (but may accidentally exist),” according to the National Electric Code (NEC). The C1D2-certified RocketLinx switches also feature an extended operating temperature range of -40°C to +75°C, and are housed in slim industrial enclosures to save rail or panel space in compact system designs.

For more information on these switches or to inquire about preliminary samples, please contact sales@comtrol.com, 763.957.6000, or visit the product-specific links above.

Visit us at ITE 2014!

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ITE

Rapid City, SD

June 29th – July 2nd

Comtrol will be exhibiting at the Joint Western/Midwestern District ITE Annual meeting starting this weekend. Contact Haley Kelliher at haley.kelliher@comtrol.com for more information or to schedule a meeting.

Please see the floor plan below to find us! Click the image for further information about the show.

 

FloorPlan

Customer Solution – Parking Automation

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With extensive growth of automobile travel in the United States, the efficiency and reliability of parking automation is critical. It is necessary for customers to experience a streamlined and intuitive process when entering and exiting parking areas. The efforts to create this experience involve multiple components and processes; the gate arm, card reader, ticket printer, sensors, and fee calculator must be able to seamlessly communicate in order for a parking gate to work properly.

One company that has been on the forefront of innovation in the parking automation industry in the United States has been using Comtrol’s legacy DeviceMaster RTS 1-Port Serial-to-Ethernet gateway technology for an extensive period of time, and to great effect. However, this company has recently decided to upgrade their parking automation systems using Ethernet communication. As a result, the DeviceMaster RTS products must be replaced with industrial Ethernet switches.

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