2016 was a wonderful year for Real Time Automation. We continued to grow to new heights and embarked on a number of new endeavors.
My two personal highlights were:
Launching our Two Day Protocol Mind-Meld Event:
This was an event we have always wanted to hold. We had no expectations going in but were able to fill a room with people willing to take two days out of their busy schedules to come talk protocols with us. The event was a wonderful success for us as well as the attendees. So good in fact that we are now accepting student applications for our May Mind-Meld. Check out our upcoming training opportunities.
Thanks to the class of 2016!
Seen here with the Brewers Racing Sausages.
Taking the ISA Certified Automation Professional Course (CAP)
I don’t have an engineering degree (slid by with business) so I had to wait until I gathered the 10 years of industry experience needed to take the course as a non-engineer. It was worth the wait.
The course does a very good job of covering the vast spectrum of devices, systems, certifications and protocols in Automation. You may not end the course with a functional understanding of all the material but you will have a conversational and fundamental understanding of the systems and pieces.
I don’t know what the accreditation will buy you in the job market but I found the material very useful. Highly recommended.
As I mentioned, 2016 was a good year, but 2017 is slated to be far more interesting. We have a massive pile of new products and platforms launching in 2017. Some have been promised in the past, but all now have concrete production launches on the calendar.
Q1 2017 Launches:
Dual Ethernet and Wi-Fi Hardware
This one has been in the works for over a year but we finally have a light at the end of the tunnel.
This is the hardware in my hand. Production runs are ordered and will be ready for the market in late Feb.
When connecting different Ethernet based protocols you will no longer have to put them on the same IP network. The gateway will also be able to exist in Ethernet ring topologies.
On top of that we will now also have Wi-Fi options for wireless applications. All existing Ethernet based protocol gateways from RTA will feature a dual Ethernet and Wi-Fi option.
Following the success of our Modbus router, we are releasing a BACnet router at the AHR Expo on Jan 30th.
Our first Bluetooth LE offering will be a device that takes Bluetooth LE pressure and temperature sensors from Transducers Direct and presents them on BACnet/IP or BACnet MS/TP. This product is also launching at the AHR Expo in January.
In short order, we will expand on this technology and give users the ability to interface with Bluetooth barcode scanners and deliver their data to Allen-Bradley PLC’s, Just like our 435NBX product.
This is a product spawned from the Two Day Protocol Mind-Meld. We took all of the protocols we support and put them in a single box.
Many customers come to us without a good test tool. PC test tools all require a learning curve and for many protocols they are expensive, especially for one-off projects.
The idea behind Noah’s Arc is that you have a full line of protocol test tools in a single browser accessible box.
You can test Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP, DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP, Profinet, BACnet/IP, ASCII and BACnet MS/TP network communications from one handy tool.
You can also email alarm any point of data letting you precisely monitor that one machine that seems to randomly turn off overnight.
The Allen-Bradley 1761 NET-ENI(W) is going end of life. RTA has you covered. Featuring browser based configuration and diagnostics, the 515RTAENI will support up to 10 TCP/IP connections. It also exposes additional data transfer options the NET-ENI never allowed. It’s the 1761-NET-ENI and the 1761-NET-ENIW all in one!
Best of all, it’s the module you need to keep your systems running until it makes sense for them to move to a new architecture. With all the same features as the 1761 NET-ENI you can keep processes and systems running without missing a beat.
You can even use the Net-ENI configuration software if you like (though we think our new browser configuration is superior). The transition should be 100% seamless.
Our November survey reflected on the holidays and looked ahead to 2017. To all who took part in our 2016 surveys, thank you. To those reading we look forward to your insight in 2017!
Behind the Numbers:
Vacation: This one seems to rebuff the notion of the vacation deprived American. 84% of respondents used all but a week of their vacation time.
2017: There is without question a positive outlook to 2017.
Christmas Movies: I am ashamed with the 36.46% of “Other” results. Not because of your choice but because I missed the result 90% of the other respondents picked. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation is our readers favorite Christmas movie.
It won the title as a write in
I should have known…
How much of your vacation time will go unused?
In 2016 I completed X% of planned projects.
In 2017 I expect business to:
My favorite classic Christmas movie is: