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Insys Microelectronics has supplied GPRS-enabled radio modems to maintain the data connection to inaccessible containers used in a stock monitoring system developed by Vega Grieshaber.

Vega, a manufacturer of level sensors, level switches and pressure sensors, provides a complete infrastructure for web-based stock monitoring that allows for the central logging of fill-levels in remote silos and mobile transport containers.

Fill-level sensors from Vega are based on various technologies, such as radar, guided microwave, ultrasound or capacitive measuring.

‘The sensor choice for a specific application depends on whether the pouring of the bulk goods generates large amounts of dust or foam, whether there is a lot of noise, plus the prevailing pressure,’ said Juan Garcia, product manager at Vega.

‘Measuring technology that involves probes contacting the material may be damaged and worn by abrasive media, such as ore or chemically aggressive liquids.

‘Such environments require non-contact measuring methods,’ he added.

Since the control centre usually has an Ethernet-based communication structure, signals from the fill-level sensors must be made available as transparent values.

Sensors from Vega are equipped with Hart, Profibus PA and Foundation fieldbus interfaces.

In wired connections, the conversion can therefore be carried out by means of Ethernet gateways, or, in sensors with 4-20mA/Hart interfaces, via the Vegamet and Vegascan signal conditioning instruments.

These signal conditioning instruments, which can be combined and interconnected, act as Hart/Ethernet gateways, additionally providing an integrated web server.

They can be connected to the Ethernet infrastructure of the control system via their Ethernet interfaces.

For remote data transmission of signals, Vega employs GSM/GPRS transmission units from Insys Microelectronics, which are connected to the signal conditioning unit.

Facilities that span large areas often rely on wireless signal transmission to the higher-level control system.

Mobile silos, remote storage containers or production areas without a landline connection, such as transport silos for dry mortar, screed and other bulk solids used in the building industry, require a transmission technology that is not limited by distance.

Vega supplies a complete data transmission system consisting of the Vegamet or Vegascan signal conditioning instruments and the Insys GPRS serial device.

GPRS is ideal for always-on connections with regular small amounts of data such as fill-level values.

Users only pay for the sent data volume, not for the duration of the connection, and installation costs are low relative to fixed line.

Therefore, GPRS allows for the establishment of cost-efficient virtual leased lines between sender and receiver.

The transfer rate for upload and download is up to 85kB/s.

The signal conditioning instruments from Vega are connected to Insys GPRS serial industrial devices via their RS232 interfaces.

From the point of view of the application, the installation acts like a conventional modem, routing data to the control level through the GSM/GPRS network via CSD or transparently in TCP/IP packets.

The modem can establish data connections through a dial-up line, through a leased line, as a callback after a telephone call or after receiving a text message.

Insys Microelectronics

INSYS MICROELECTRONICS is a specialist manufacturer for Industrial data communication. Since 1992 INSYS has been developing and manufacturing robust devices for industrial and ‘remote’ applications, serving a variety of industries – industrial automation, building management, transportation and utilities. We offer a broad range of communication technologies in various housings both wireless and cabled. Products include DIN Rail mounted Analogue and Leased Line modems, GSM/GPRS/EDGE modems; GPRS and 3G routers with combined 4 port switch, Ethernet and WLAN devices. Beyond this, INSYS offers you component communication modules for embedded applications and comprehensive project support to develop and construct customer-specific devices – we are a competent prototype partner. All products are backed with comprehensive support. In future INSYS Microelectronics intends to strengthen its position as a leading supplier of industrial data communication hardware by ensuring the continued manufacture of reliable products with industrial grade components with customer support of the very highest standard.

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