In today’s manufacturing environment, data is everything. Capturing that valuable data—information that can guide critical decisions about production, labor, and machine maintenance—can be accomplished using existing sensors and other devices without a wholesale device changeout.
The ability to capture actionable machine data from across a factory is central to Banner Engineering’s Snap Signal series, a suite of modular hardware that forms an overlay network to capture data from both new and existing sources, regardless of manufacturer. Snap Signal’s ability to incorporate nearly any sensor signal found on a factory floor allows I/O systems to be built that fully make use of rich data from both new and legacy equipment without disrupting existing controls.
Unifying Disparate Signals
Sensors, tower lights, valves, motor drives, and other devices all send out signals as part of their basic function. By capturing and monitoring these signals, operators can unlock a wealth of valuable machine information.
To facilitate communication among devices (even types typically incompatible with each other), Snap Signal taps into each source’s data stream, whether discrete, analog, or another type of signal. Converters, most of which are the size of a single AA battery, take these signals and change them to a unified protocol. With the data speaking a common language, it is ready for distribution, analysis, and visualization via monitoring platforms such as a local PLC/HMI, the cloud, or a SCADA system.
Two major benefits of converting disparate signals to a unified protocol are the ability to easily incorporate legacy sensors and the seamless transmission of data across multiple IIoT ecosystems. No matter what language a device is speaking—whether it’s discrete, analog, IO-Link, serial, Modbus, Profinet—Snap Signal can help access and use the data coming from that device.
Analyzing Data to Understand Trends
To provide a clear picture of how machines are performing now and how they will perform in the future, Snap Signal combines performance data with predictive information to track performance. For example, a radar sensor that is monitoring the volume of liquid in a tank can display this level via an indicator light bar on the side of the vessel. When the tank level gets low, a connected controller can set the entire indicator to flash and notify an operator or send a text message to operators elsewhere that the tank needs to be filled. Over time, trends in data collected from the sensors can indicate when raw materials need to be ordered to avoid not having material when needed and prevent overstocking. A temperature and humidity sensor can be tied into the same system to monitor a nearby enclosure to ensure it does not overheat and cause the PLC or other electronics to fail. Trends in temperature and humidity data can indicate the potential for equipment failure, giving operators an opportunity to perform maintenance before a serious failure occurs.
Simply monitoring a single sensor helps you understand cycle time, throughput, and uptime. If you have multiple machines with identical sensing points, performance comparisons can easily be made among the machines. Data from these sensors can help improve efficiencies, lower costs, and predict equipment maintenance needs.
Making Connections Easy
Using industry-standard M12 connections, Snap Signal products create a unique plug-and-play overlay network by connecting existing devices using splitter cables. This is how Snap Signal uses existing devices without interfering with the control system: the attached monitoring connections “listen” to the signals. The quick connections without the need for rerouting previous cable runs speeds up the process of monitoring devices on your machine. Devices lacking an M12 connector can be easily converted using field-wirable M12 connectors.
Processing on the Edge
The intelligence that drives Snap Signal is found in Banner’s DXMR90 series of controllers. These compact, programmable devices consolidate signals from multiple connections, process data, and provide a gateway to the IIoT. A built-in logic controller provides local processing of action rules and scripts for data analytics, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, OEE analysis, diagnostics, and overall troubleshooting.
Maximizing Performance Through Data
By collecting, converting, and processing data from nearly any source right where it’s being generated, Snap Signal provides the flexibility to monitor key equipment in one area or your whole facility—and monitor from anywhere, any time—and improve efficiency, performance, and maximize machine uptime.
Sponsored content by Banner Engineering
Filed Under: Banner Engineering Sponsored Content