Pro's and Con's of Wireless Instrumentation in Process Control

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In the process control industry there are many reasons to adopt wireless instrumentation. Advocates will tell you the biggest advantages of wireless I/O monitoring and control options are reduced installation cost and increased convenience.

The argument in favor of wireless goes something like this:
  • Why install cable when wireless I/O communications can be utilized at a fraction of the cost? 
  • Avoid having to lay conduit, obtain permits, hire labor, and renting out the required machines.
  • Wireless I/O monitoring and control systems are easy to install and configure; your system will be up and running faster. 
But the acceptance by companies has been slow. The fiscal argument for the industry to adopt wireless instrumentation networks is convincing, and there are clear benefits, so why the hesitation to embrace wireless technology?

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There are three main concerns:
  • Is the technology reliable?
  • Adaptibility with existing infrastructure?
  • How does wireless work with the existing communication system?
Cost cutting and process improvement in the process industries is a fact of life.  Whether to comply with current regulations, or to build a more efficient operation, the need to build a better mousetrap is always present.  Before widespread adoption of wireless could occur, the challenges of reliability, adaptability, and ease of integration had to be overcome. There's evidence that time may have arrived, as innovation and new technologies are allaying these concerns. As deployment costs are reduced, maintenance costs are reduced, employee safety is improved, and environmental compliance is advanced, it won't be long until wireless technologies become the preferred deployment method for all new installations.

Always consult with a local industrial wireless application specialist to optimize the efficiency of this new technology for your application.