Monday 4 April 2011

Wireless aids solar sludge drying process!

Once water has been cleaned and decanted, it is often necessary to dry the residual sludge. The SOLIA solar sludge drying process, proposed by MSE, uses an automated turner. The sludge is laid out in windrows, in a greenhouse, to accelerate water evaporation. The operation is automated, and there is no further need to enter the greenhouse to control the robots. These robots are radio-controlled, which provides a more robust solution than the traditional wired approach.
For the SOLIA´s process, the sludge is first treated by a centrifuge and then dried in a greenhouse heated by solar radiation. An automated turner regularly mixes the dried and fresh sludge to optimise drying times.

MSE has decided to attach radios to the robots to enable information to be sent back and forth with the control station. This means the operator can control the robot remotely, program its movements and know its current position. The robot has a WAGO controller, which interfaces with the radio.

“Implementation proved to be very simple, thanks in particular to ProSoft Technology´s technical support,” explains Xavier Bousquet from Veolia Water Solutions & Technology. “As far as the choice of supplier was concerned, we stuck to the specifications given by their local distributor. Our major concern was reliability. We had to have a reliable solution, with none of our users encountering any problems. This was indeed the case with Prosoft Technology´s RadioLinx solution.”

So far, Prosoft Technology radio systems have been installed at half a dozen of the company´s sites. Veolia Water Solutions & Technology has designed the technological solutions used at these plants and also offers a whole range of associated services to ensure the day-to-day technical efficiency and durability of all solutions installed on its customers´ sites. A unique portfolio of exclusive technologies provides the best in innovation and complete control of each strand of the water treatment process, both for local authorities and industry.

A reliable transmission system
RadioLinx brings all the advantages of wireless connection to industrial automation applications, whilst still offering high levels of reliability. In addition to its ability to withstand harsh operating conditions, it also improves the transmission of Ethernet data packets. The standards set out in IEEE 802.11 (commonly known as “Wi-Fi”), bring an extremely high level of security (802.11i), flexibility and interoperability to industrial automation applications. Originally designed for office and home applications, this technology may show limitations when it comes to industrial protocol transfer, resulting in transmission problems for industrial automation systems (due to radio transmission method used for Ethernet packets). But the RadioLinx range ensures optimal transfer of data packets. To improve data packet transfer, RadioLinx uses a specific signal processing algorithm developed by ProSoft Technology, which allows better use of the full bandwidth and supports the fast data transmission speeds demanded by industrial automation engineers.

With its “Power over Ethernet” (PoE) specification, the power supply and connection of the radio system to the wired Ethernet is done via a single cable (instead of two), which greatly simplifies installation and reduces set-up times. Another valuable function of the RadioLinx series for this installation is that it supports serial encapsulation, which means that serial peripherals can be used and integrated into the main Ethernet architecture of the control system. This radio system ensures high performance for both IEEE 802.11bg (2.4 GHz band) and 802.11a (5 GHz band) configurations: a more powerful processor provides faster processing of the data and the signal, which, as far as the user is concerned, means higher data speeds.

RadioLinx systems are ideal for industrial applications: industrial grade enclosures, extended operating temperature ranges, compliance with shock and vibration resistance standards, certification for use on sites where there is a risk of explosion, fitting to DIN rails, etc. But would Veolia´s requirements need less?

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