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By Nicholas Sheble
“The wireless landscape for machine safety includes many of the technologies familiar to process industries,” said Rolf Bienert, “ZigBee, mesh networking, RFID tagging, the ISA100 family of wireless standards, and Wireless HART are all part of the mix.”

Bienert is technical manager with TUV Rheinland. He is also the technical manager for EMC/Telecom and the Global Competence Center for emerging communication protocols. He has been involved in international standardization efforts and guides TUV Rheinland’s efforts in these areas.

Beinert is a member of the NIST SGTCC, the ZigBee Alliance, and other organizations driving the development of new technologies with a specific focus on certification and interoperability.

“The security risks are similar to those we encounter in wet manufacturing and the vulnerabilities are the same as in wired networks,” said Bienert during a Siemens-sponsored webinar last week entitled, “Wireless Technologies and the Impact on Machine Safety.” The webinar will be on the Siemens website soon.

Schneider Bold

Wireless technologies are challenging as well as promising for the automation of new products and services.

As with the Ethernet, the growing popularity of wireless among consumers is lowering the cost of equipment.

Moreover, as with Ethernet increasingly spreading in automation networking, wireless solutions are starting to find their place in automation networking, in spite of some skepticism about their robustness in an industrial environment when used with machines.

Beinert discussed how wireless technologies influence functional- and machinery-specific safety requirements, as well as their benefits. His take is wireless will give users a competitive advantage.

The webinar aims to help users:
• Understand the advantages and issues of wireless networks in manufacturing networking
• Recognize the ability of exiting solutions to meet real time requirements
• Identify security and safety issues
• Comprehend power issues and their ramifications
• Understand the impact of location upon wireless devices

“Global and wireless approvals can become costly very quickly,” said Beinert.

Nicholas Sheble ( is an engineering writer and technical editor in Raleigh, NC.

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