Wireless power as the new companion to wireless data for process automation is the subject of a great paper presented by Jonathan Jacobs from Automation Week 2012. In his paper, Jonathan presents a brief overview of the technology and discusses the applications and value derived from wireless power/data combination systems.
PowerbyProxi has worked with over 50 different companies since 2007 to define wireless power and data solutions for their industrial applications, however, as Jonathan noted, the use of the technology is still in in its infancy. Why? Well until a few years ago, wireless power had limited ability for control of variable loads and failed to be able to transfer working levels of power in small form factors.
Today it is a different story. Innovative technologies like our Dynamic Harmonization Control (DHC) and unique coil designs matched with small form factor electronics continue to allow large, higher power transfer in smaller and smaller product footprints. Our latest example, an M12 diameter connector that supports analog control signals and 6 watts of power, is now being introduced by our partner TE Connectivity. This connector, targeted for sensor and control systems on operations like robot grippers or injection molding machines, offer new levels of productivity and reliability in harsh and mission critical environments.
Yes, there are others in the market developing wireless power and data products, but none can match the size versus performance ratio that DHC and PowerbyProxi’s many years of wireless power know-how are bringing to industrial automation. Ask TE Connectivity. As a leader in industrial connectors, they are committed to helping their customers realize the return on investment from wireless power/data systems. Jonathan is spot on when he says that wireless power will fuel the next wave of productivity and performance in industrial automation.
Working at PowerbyProxi and with my colleagues on the convenience of wireless recharging of my smartphone is great, but to be honest with you, there are times as a manufacturing person I wish the battery were dead.
It is 3 a.m. and you’re finally getting that much needed REM sleep, and your phone starts to ring. Your spouse mumbles something as they roll away from you and your noisy phone. It’s the plant. Another connector failure on a bolster that is being put into the press has the line down and you need to come in to repair it. Why? These stupid connectors repetitively get damaged during bolster change, or contamination has built up while the bolster was out of the press and it won’t connect anymore.
As you drive to the plant blurry eyed in the darkness you say to yourself “there must be a better way.” Well one major automotive company went from thinking to acting. They contacted PowerbyProxi and asked, “can you help?”. The answer was absolutely!
Working with the customer, PowerbyProxi has installed one of our Proxi-Point solutions that offers non-contacting, robust, IP68 sealed transmission and receiving of power through an airgap to eliminate the chances for corrosion or damaged pins. The system is fully automatic, so as a new bolster is rolled into the press, the transmitter and receiver are brought into close proximity and the power is instantly flowing – powering up all of the controls, sensor and actuators. Oh, and before I forget, the system has integrated data transfer with our Proxi-Com solution, so in this application, Ethernet/IP data is also flowing bi-directionally through the same wireless connector.
So, while you’re on your way to the plant in the dark to fix this connector problem again, in another town, your counterpart at this automotive company is sleeping like a baby.
Join in the discussion or contact us for more information.