Perle Systems Case Study
Multimode Fiber Connectivity & Jumbo Packets enable reliable production monitoring
Industrial manufacturing plants are uncomfortable places. They can be hot, cold, loud, cramped, dirty, smelly, or all the above. But they are the places where all the things we need, or want, are made. With a focus on safety, and increased demands on efficiency, more and more manufacturers are turning to technology to optimise their production facilities.
The visual monitoring of a manufacturing process can be described as ‘many hours of boredom, interrupted by moments of panic’. Operators sit at control desks and act when something unexpected happens. Often the root of the problem cannot be determined in real-time, so production is temporarily shut down to prevent further damage.
Pixact, a manufacturer of image-based process measurement technology, offers an alternative. They provide specialised cameras and processing monitoring software. Industrial processes are recorded by the cameras and then analysed and interpreted by the software. The advantages over human visual quality control are plentiful. Production facilities can streamline their operations, increase the speed of error detection, and play-back recorded footage to use when analysing and optimising processes.
We spoke with Kalle Marjanen, Chief Optical Engineer at Pixact, to find out how their equipment is used in Industrial Manufacturing plants, and how Perle Media Converters feature in these installations
During a plant refurbishment at a stone-wool production facility in Finland, Pixact was asked to propose a process monitoring solution for the cutting of stone-wool sheets. Stone wool is made from molten rock and is used as insulation in most modern homes. Liquid rock is poured from furnaces and the lava within is directed into a chamber where it is spun and transformed into rock strands and stone wool. The strands are mixed with a binding agent and collected and cured and can be cut to various lengths and thicknesses. The monitoring system needed to be reliable, safe, and able to transmit real-time production information into a new factory automation system.
Kalle Marjanen explains, “Every installation is different, but we had already done numerous similar installations across Europe. The plan was to install 11 cameras monitoring the production process. Some are thermal cameras detecting excessive heat. Others are automation cameras and ‘stop’ cameras. Each camera feeds the recordings into the factory automation system which monitors and takes the necessary corrective actions.”
The distance between the cameras on the production floor and the server room exceeded Ethernet transmission capabilities by around 100m. This, coupled with the hazardous conditions, warranted the installation of multimode fiber cabling for the network data transmissions. An added benefit is that fiber is immune to temperature fluctuations and EMI interference often found in production facilities.
As Pixact cameras transmit images over CAT6, Perle Media Converters with SFP Optical Transceivers were installed to act as the interface between the cameras and the multimode fiber. The rugged steel casing and ability to operate in extended temperatures made the choice of Perle Media Converters straightforward.
Kalle comments, “We have used Perle before to provide Ethernet to Fiber connectivity. For visual monitoring to be effective, the transfer of frames needs to happen in real-time. The Jumbo Packets feature in the Perle Media Converters allows this to happen and we know it is reliable.”
Jumbo Packets are Ethernet frames with more than 1500 bytes of payload. Normally, Jumbo Packets can carry up to 9000 bytes of payload, but Perle Media Converters support up to 10,240 bytes.
About Pixact: – http://pixact.fi/
Pixact is a top technology developer and solution provider in camera-based process measurements. We support our customers from the innovation and laboratory phase to the introduction of new technologies in the production line. Our team comprises professionals in process technology, optical measurement, image analysis and software solutions.