System Integration & Control Systems Design


Latest comms technology commissioned at smelter project

December 2000 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Telecommunications project house, Q-KON, has successfully commissioned a state-of-the-art communications system at Amplats' Waterval Smelter near Rustenburg.

The system provides communication between a basestation and four remote sites capturing readings from measuring instrumentation. Technology Services International, who supplied the monitoring equipment and data loggers for the project, awarded this contract to Q-KON. The software was created by Environmental Management Services and has been designed to collect and process data via Q-KON's communications system.

Q-KON installed MN96-M data radios with power supply units at both the remote and base stations. Integrated with the Motorola GM350 radio the MiniNode radio modem is a complete data radio for rugged mobile and fixed installation applications.

The MiniNode MN96 is a microprocessor-based 9600 bit/s radio modem designed for use in mobile data and remote data collection systems using conventional land mobile radio equipment. Based on Q-KON's successful MiniNode I product, the MiniNode MN96 features enhanced radio data transmission capabilities.

The MiniNode MN96-M provides an RS232 serial data communication port that can be integrated with any serial field instrument or DTE device and a four-signal interface to be integrated with a data radio. Using the latest development in FSK modulation techniques the MN96 modulates the data signal onto a conventional radio channel at 9600 bit/s using a 12,5 kHz bandwidth channel and 19 200 bit/s using a 25 kHz bandwidth channel. It was specifically designed to provide a seamless and direct integrated solution for different applications.

The previous typical configuration system at the Waterval Smelter was developed to operate on a polling protocol. Q-KON has now replaced this with a custom-developed network protocol based on the Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance protocol.

This means that any remote radio can transmit data whenever a determined period of silence has lapsed. Should two radios begin transmission simultaneously, the master station will detect the collision and will not transmit an acknowledgement message. The two radios will cease transmission for a random period before attempting to transmit again.

Q-KON Corporate Manager, Dirk Staal, says: "By implementing this protocol, we have achieved reliable data transfer between the remote radios and the master. Only one data radio is able to access the RF network at any given time, preventing RF collisions, but all the data radios have the opportunity to transfer their data in good time."

Established in 1988, Q-KON is a wholly owned private South African company concentrating on the supply of telecommunication products and services to the corporate, telecommunication and government market. A Radio Systems Project House, its strength lies in its system engineering and telecommunication-engineering expertise provided to clients in the form of engineering services or product and turnkey supplier services.

Currently, Q-KON is structured in the following business units: telecommunication projects, mobile radio solutions and RF networking solutions; each of which is supported by a range of specialised products and services.





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Control loop: Case History 182 - A temperature cascade control loop that didn’t work
Michael Brown Control Engineering Editor's Choice System Integration & Control Systems Design
The problems encountered in a heater outlet temperature control in a petrochemical refinery were causing considerable difficulties for the operators. Here is another wonderful example of the power of cascade control, even with a really bad control element.

Read more...
The role of ‘green’ packaging in sustainable manufacturing
Omron Electronics System Integration & Control Systems Design
Sustainability in the packaging industry is one of the key aspects in fighting the plastic waste issue and, ultimately, climate change.

Read more...
Working hand in hand to meet automotive OEMs’ strict requirements
Turck Banner Sensors & Transducers System Integration & Control Systems Design
The LASE Group, producer of machines and assembly cells for the automotive industry, places trust in its close collaboration with Turck Multiprox.

Read more...
PC-based control for seed treatment
Beckhoff Automation System Integration & Control Systems Design
The cost and consumption reports generated by the production control system open up new ways of managing and analysing data.

Read more...
Cobot boosts production by 15%
Omron Electronics System Integration & Control Systems Design
Topcustom, an Italian producer of custom-made bathroom sinks, has recently transformed part of its operations by deploying a collaborative robot (cobot) from Omron. The new cobot is being used to automate ...

Read more...
Integrated control and software solutions for operational efficiency and traceability
Schneider Electric South Africa System Integration & Control Systems Design
Actionable insight from integrated operations has the potential to transform business and improve risk management.

Read more...
Omron and FlexLink design collaborative palletiser
Omron Electronics System Integration & Control Systems Design
The cobot solution, with its small footprint and active safety equipment, enables the handling of up to 8 boxes per minute without the need for fencing or laser scanners.

Read more...
Control loop: Case History 181 - Understand the basics of the components in the loop
Michael Brown Control Engineering Editor's Choice System Integration & Control Systems Design
To my amazement I find that people seem to think that because these days we are using ‘smart’ transmitters, the basic rules can be ignored.

Read more...
Reliable drug production requires fast and GMP-compliant labelling
Omron Electronics System Integration & Control Systems Design
By using a new labelling system with smart camera technology from Omron, Steierl-Pharma can label its pharmaceuticals with high process speed and reliability.

Read more...
Oval XTS line and PC-based control optimise plastic hose production
Beckhoff Automation System Integration & Control Systems Design
When changing formats, for example, for a conversion to other winding lengths, the solution eliminates the need for mechanical adjustments and re-programming in the six-axis machine responsible for feeding the material.

Read more...