A remote maintenance and alarm management system aimed at linking automation and computer systems in industry processes has been introduced locally by industrial automation supplier and service provider Shorrock Automation.
The product, which is called eWON, allows users to control on-site applications and processes from remote locations, and also transmits alerts and updates about process functions and data.
eWON is an Internet protocol router that can send information to any location that has adequate cellphone reception and sends SMS or email alerts to users.
The product is represented locally by Shorrock Automation and was developed by ACT’L, a Belgian electronics and industrial engineering company.
Shorrock Automation control systems engineer Philip Möller explains that the company recently installed eWON on a project, which required data on seismic activity in Africa to be transmitted to a central location in Pretoria.
Other applications for eWON include prewarning systems for unusual industrial process activity, data collection and the remote management of noncritical operations.
Shorrock Automation control systems engineer Dino Singh says that the eWON product is compatible with the automation and the computerised operator interface products supplied by the company.
A new interprocess communication (IPC) device from WAGO, a German electronics manufacturer, has also been introduced locally by Shorrock Automation.
The WAGO IPC runs on the Linux opera- ting system, which enables users to modify the IPC running on Linux to their specific automation needs. The open-source Linux platform allows alterations to be made to the software coding.
The use of open-source software in auto- mation systems is unique, says Shorrock Automation control systems engineer Paul Bouwer. He adds that the South African open-source applications market in industry is still developing, although it is popular internationally.
Bouwer says that automation systems are becoming increasingly popular for building systems maintenance, particularly for lighting, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
The WAGO IPC allows users to maintain constant light intensity levels by automa- tically altering electrical lighting in pro- portion to the waxing or waning of natural light in an area. Similarly, the HVAC system can be automatically controlled to maintain a consistent temperature in a building.
The eWON product can also be linked to building maintenance systems to manage the control of several buildings from a central location. Singh says that this also requires less manpower. Bouwer adds that the use of eWON in conjunction with building automation systems also provides more specific information about areas that need attention from repair and maintenance teams. The exact location and type of a blown light bulb, for example, can be sent directly to maintenance managers for quicker and more effective repair systems.