In almost all industrial sectors, highly automated processes can now be found. To ensure that these run smoothly, processes and states are permanently monitored (permanent monitoring). However, one essential automation component is often underestimated in practice: the data line. As the VORTEX Report 2020 already showed, more than 50 percent of all plant malfunctions are due to line-related error sources. In addition to faulty or worn data cables and connectors, the most frequent sources of faults were length overruns or EMC interference (for example, due to incorrectly applied shielding).
Whether PROFINET or Industrial Ethernet - the fast and secure exchange of data between automation systems and other network participants is based on (wired) communication lines. However, these are not yet continuously monitored. Consequently, the "asset line" proves to be a weak point of the targeted high availability. How come?
Manual line testing often not possible
In order to reduce danger points or not to obstruct process flows, the cabling of industrial plants is often concealed. Therefore, many cable routes are difficult to access and can only be inspected with great effort. In addition, a manual cable test can usually only be carried out when the machine is at a standstill and with the help of additional measuring devices. In short: Until now, the cable inspection could only be carried out with greater (personnel) effort during maintenance-related shutdowns.
Manual cable testing has another weak point: all cables are tested in the unplugged state. Therefore, the uncertainty remains whether plug connections of tested cables function correctly. Malfunctions due to defective or loose plug connections thus easily remain undetected and reduce the reliability of the manual line test.
Let us hold firm at this point:
- Doing without line testing is not an option in the industrial environment.
- Manual testing of data lines is time-consuming and only possible when the system is at a standstill. In addition, there is a residual risk of overlooking defective plug connections.
How can data lines be monitored reliably and during operation?
For users of other monitoring solutions, the only logical answer should come as little surprise: Data lines of industrial networks should be monitored automatically and during operation.
This is made possible by Indu-Sol's innovative "online cable diagnosis". This can be found in the diagnostic switches PROmesh P10 and PROmesh P10X. With the help of the function integrated in the Industrial Switches, connected data lines can be monitored seamlessly and during ongoing system operation. The port-accurate line monitoring reliably detects conspicuous or critical changes in condition - before the system operation is impaired.
Thanks to the practice-oriented processing and the clear traffic light colour principle (red - yellow - green), no comprehensive measurement expertise is required for line monitoring. The line monitoring can therefore be carried out both via web interface by the maintenance department and a central control room.
How does the online cable diagnosis work?
This is made possible by the continuous monitoring of various parameters, which are compared to a set value corresponding to the length of the cable. If significant deterioration occurs, maintenance is automatically notified. If maintenance work is required, it can usually be planned and carried out at a suitable time such as a regular maintenance interval. In order to simplify the localisation of the data line to be repaired, the online line diagnosis is carried out per port.
Experience the innovative online line diagnostics in your (test) installation. Test the online line diagnostics of the PROmesh P10 or PROmesh P10X under real conditions. Discover the added value and increase the reliability of your systems.