Sensors & Transducers

Time synchronise your key remote sites

November 2019 Sensors & Transducers

Managing processes where root cause identification is rapidly identified can generate substantial savings though improved productivity and implementation of planned preventive maintenance schedules. Knowing what happened first in a chain of events in the plant quickly leads to the appropriate corrective action. Omniflex has spent 50+ years in alarm and event management system design and development, providing 1 millisecond discrimination to trip alarming status enabling the plant to quickly identify root cause. The company’s Time Stamp at Source philosophy immediately differentiates its trip recording by being far more accurate than supervisory system PC or DCS time stamping, which are unable to account for propagation delay of network signal and the I/O scanning ability of the front-end devices. The more I/O the longer it takes. Omniflex adopted a fixed scan cycle (independent of I/O count) and a time stamp at source for every change of state. Having a GPS time synchronised clock source provides unparalleled alarm time accuracy right where it is needed.

Many time synchronising standards have been used over the years, from pulse inputs to IRIGB popular in the electrical field, and more modern plants adopting the Network Time Protocols (NTP) server technology on networks or IEEE1588 Protocols, to bring all time stamping to a single time base. All of these require a significant investment in hardware and software and even dedicated networks to provide plantwide synchronisation.

The issues are affordability in remote or isolated plants and achieving a cost-effective solution to time synchronisation. Sub-stations, pumping stations or remote process plants away from their main plant often need to be reviewed on the same time base as they are interrelated.

The Omniflex TSM enables any isolated programmable equipment to synchronise its real-time clock to satellite time. The sequential events recorder, Maxiflex can thus provide one millisecond discrimination in chains of events at different geographic locations and when this data is overlaid the root cause can quickly be uncovered as the time base is down to one millisecond resolution. Any programmable device (PLC) with a serial port can be configured to get real time from the Omniflex TSM. Features include:

• Independent of plant network propagation delays with direct accurate satellite synchronisation.

• Compact weather proof enclosure, so no antenna required.

• Simple setup plug and play.

• Supports the uses of either an RS-232 or RS-485 interface port.

• Easily used with third-party PLC, DCS or PC based systems.

• Eliminates real-time clock drift errors.

• Operates off 9 to 30 V DC supply.

Benefits are:

• Compatible with third- party devices like PLCs.

• Allows sensible aggregation of time stamped data collected from different sites.

• Compare similar installations by alarm performance.

• Accurate alarm time logging over large geographic areas.

These benefits make it ideally suited for any remote monitoring operation requiring accurate time.

For more information contact Ian Loudon, Omniflex, +27 31 207 7466,,


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Omniflex enables mine water quality
October 2020, Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Water licences carry a ‘Burdon of Proof’ that the licence holder will not harm the environment or the water system through its activities. This covers the use of water from the system and the responsible ...

Sensor for efficient pneumatic performance
October 2020, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
SICK Automation’s FTMg flow sensor detects pneumatic system leakages well before pressure loss causes machine failure. It is engineered to output up to eight process parameters.

Conductivity sensor for interface detection
October 2020, ifm - South Africa , Sensors & Transducers
The LDL 100 conductivity sensor from ifm electroninc makes reliable differentiation between cleaning media possible in CIP applications.

Inductive sensors for Industry 4.0
October 2020, Turck Banner , Sensors & Transducers
Inductive measurement sensors with IO-Link and a voltage output complete Turck’s sensor portfolio for a variety of different application requirements.

MicroHAWK smart cameras simplify code reading and inspection
October 2020, Omron Electronics , Sensors & Transducers
Omron’s powerful new smart cameras simplify applications by combining code reading and vision inspection into a single, highly compact device.

3D collision warning system
October 2020, ifm - South Africa , Sensors & Transducers
The 3D collision warning system is based on established 3D sensors from ifm electronic. It precisely detects obstacles and visualises them on a monitor.

Prevent backward driving accidents
September 2020, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
To prevent collisions and improve worker safety, Cologne-based sugar producer Pfeifer & Langen selected SICK Automation’s Visionary-B CV 3D driver assistance system for use at its reloading point.

Conductivity sensor for CIP monitoring
September 2020, ifm - South Africa , Sensors & Transducers
The LDL200 from ifm electronic is designed to be used in cleaning processes (CIP) in the food industry.

Conductivity sensor for interface detection
September 2020, ifm - South Africa , Sensors & Transducers
The conductivity sensor LDL100 for interface detection from ifm electronic ensures that product validation is possible at all times.

Pump control at a distance
September 2020, Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists , Industrial Wireless
The ability to control a pump remotely over distance and without using wires is simple using Omniflex Teleterm Radio RTUs over a licence free band, avoiding administration of radio frequency band use. ...