NEW HIGH TECNOLOGY! Kalle Heiska science journalist
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10 May 2001

More efficient production with wireless technology

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Wireless connections with equipment will bring greater efficiency and flexibility to industrial production in the future. However, wireless data transmission and the wireless control of automatic guided vehicles and robot cells must not be allowed to endanger or disturb the continuity of production.

It will now be possible to change the operations of factory production lines without new cabling. It will be easy to add new equipment to the line or to transfer devices from one line to another. The equipment can be controlled from a remote location, with a user interface that works in a regular web browser.

Wireless technology opens up new possibilities for E-commerce. A factory will work more efficiently when it opens an electronic window to component suppliers, allowing them to look at its production plan and warehouse, so that the suppliers can independently decide when to deliver new components to the factory. At best, the third party in the supply chain, the component transporter, will also get appropriate information about transport needs and plan its goods transportation in a logistically profitable way.

A wireless remote connection will also allow factories to use the remote consultation of the manufacturers of the automatic guided vehicles or robots. New settings or instructions for repairing a fault can easily be obtained for the wireless equipment used in the factory quite independent of the location of the manufacturer's specialists, servicemen or calibration staff, so long as they receive the necessary information and video pictures.

VTT Automation has arranged an experimental environment for the testing of the wireless remote control and monitoring of factory production equipment and e.g. a mini-warehouse. The local information network has been isolated from the VTT public network with a firewall server, and after authorization the user is able to control a device operating in the experimental environment. The experimental system is based on commercial products and economical license-free 2.4 GHz wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions and other wireless radio modem connections. These non-standard radio modem links might suit the needs of industry better than the WLAN standard solutions.

More information:

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Wireless technology - the key for top services

A wireless connection to a local area network opens up immense possibilities for workshop production, office work and especially leisure activities. The wireless network of the future will handle all data transmission between devices and out of the network to remote connections.

The local network devices will work indoors and outdoors within a 100-meter radius from the network base station. When the device transfers from one indoor space to another or otherwise outside its range, it either changes base station or works through another device with the original base station.

VTT Electronics is playing the major role in a FIM 38 million international project with 9 other parties: Philips, Acorde, Intracom, Cefriel, the Universities of Rome, Athens and Catabria and the Dresden and Poznan Universities of Technology. They will develop, by the year 2003, a brand new European radio to be the core of a local network.

This future local network will be very intelligent: when brought within operating range it will "report for duty" and begin conversing with the devices already in the network. The device will occasionally "give notice that it is resting" - and reactivate for "conversation".

The local network will bring greater flexibility and ease of use to industrial production and consumer products. The network will transmit automatic guided vehicle control information, sensor information, voice messages and even video-camera pictures in factories, offices, apartments or outdoor locations to any other remote local network in whatever location. After being initially set up, the devices will be able to work independently, without difficult cabling.

The local network devices in the future will be handy; the radio modem with its antennas will be produced in a small size and will be economical due to mass production. The network is planned to work in radio frequencies from 2.4-60 GHz, free of charge. Data transfer rates will be between 1-100Mbit/s.

VTT Electronics' work will acquire basic know-how for Finland for the needs of future local data transfer

Jussi Paakkari and Leila Rannanjärvi

systems. It has already earlier been involved in an international project in which a record-breaking 155 Mbit/s data transfer device was made.

More information:

VTT Automation: Leila Rannanjärvi, tel. +358-8-551 2314 and +358-40-820 8929, Leila Rannanjärvi

VTT Electronics: Jussi Paakkari, tel. +358-8-551 2224 and +358-40-548 5286, Jussi Paakkari

Feel free to use all news. Kalle Heiska
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