U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Advanced Manufacturing Office
Making Wireless Technology Robust Enough For Use on the Factory Floor
December 22, 2005
With ITP support, Honeywell is designing a multi-use wireless network robust enough to meet the challenges of the factory floor. Users of industrial wireless sensor systems will not only reduce energy costs, they can also become more globally competitive. Unlike personal wireless communication devices, industrial sensor systems face special conditions. Interference from large metal structures, high heat and humidity levels, corrosive chemicals, vibrations, and time-critical process control requirements create significant hurdles for wireless sensors operating in industrial environments. In addition, the power for industrial wireless sensors must last for the life of the sensor, probably 5 to 10 years. Honeywell has teamed with ITP to develop wireless technology that will enhance communication reliability, data security, low power operation, and timeliness of data delivery. By addressing these requirements, applications of the new technology will reduce process upsets, and improve product quality and process efficiency. Applications range from condition-based equipment monitoring to control systems, a major Honeywell focus. Honeywell intends to field-test complete systems in 2006 in two operational industrial settings.