Newsletter Insert July 2014

Drew’s Automation Insert

Drew Baryenbruch

The Two Times You are the Smartest Person in the World on a Particular Subject

I believe everyone knows Joe at work. Joe just discovered the greatest thing ever. As an engineer it’s most likely biking, rocketry, diving or home beer brewing. Within months of discovery, Joe has all the gear, subscribes to all the magazines and talks about nothing else. He is a disciple of his niche interest and is trying desperately to spread the word.

The Addict Stage: The first time you feel like you are smartest person in the world
Most of us have been there. The high of a new knowledge or experience. We loosely equate being the smartest person in the room on a subject to being the smartest person in the world. We run our mouths, are egotistical, self-righteous and feel really good about it.

The Crash: When you realize you are not that smart
Inevitably we expand our social experience and realize we are irrelevant and amateur. In biking, it’s watching a 60 year old woman on a 1987 ten speed blow by you on a century ride. In home brewing it’s getting destroyed at a competition and realizing that some people actually make enjoyable beers as opposed to enjoying the process of making terrible beer. In diving it’s seeing the 12 year old kid with 20 times the dives logged you have, all in hand-me-down equipment.

You can’t substitute experience. You can get the gear and read the books but you can’t train your body or your mind to react in an expert way until you have put in the time and have done the work. This realization leaves everyone at the same fork. Do you continue to earn the credentials you mistakenly thought you had or do you move on and use your energy elsewhere?

Experience: When you really are the smartest person in the World on a subject (relatively)
The people that stay the course are the ones who earn the title. The irony may be that these people are the ones who realize that they are not the smartest and or best in the world. They know this because they have experienced people better. Accurate perspective may be the most valuable product of experience. They know they are smarter than most but experienced enough to know when they are not.

Moral of the Story:
In business and in our industry, technologies, practices, systems and ideas are always changing. It’s easy to get caught up in a shiny new one. And that’s not inherently a bad thing. Just make sure you open your eyes beyond your department or industry for insight.

Don’t pretend you are the smartest person in the world on a subject. You end up looking like the back side of mule. There is rarely a trail that hasn’t already been blazed. Use others as a guide and then learn by doing. Let experience not hubris dictate whether you strive to become one of the smartest in the world on a subject or move on to something better. Either is ok. Pivot quickly.

Let Us Help You Meet Your Next BACnet/IP Metering Requirement

Do you have a new opportunity requiring BACnet/IP communication? If you are working on any state or municipal jobs there is a good chance BACnet/IP is now a requirement for all energy monitoring and usage.

Unlike a few years ago all the major energy meter manufactures now offer BACnet/IP enabled meters. The problem is they only offer BACnet/IP on their high end, high cost meters. This means you are getting a meter with far more cost and more function than you need for nearly all building automation applications.

A Better Solution:
The better way is to find a cost effective and functionally suitable meter that features Modbus RTU. These are always a fraction of the cost of the Ethernet enabled versions. Then give me a call to talk about a Modbus RTU to BACnet/IP gateway. Each gateway can support up to 32 Meters.

We have Templates for Leading Power Meters and Generators
We have templates for over 120 meters, UPS’s and generators from companies like Eaton, Electro Industries, Schneider, Mitsubishi, Cummins, Generac, GE, Janitza, Siemens, Veris and many others.

These templates eliminate any data mapping from Modbus to BACnet. You simply load the file and the Modbus data table of the meter is mapped to BACnet/IP with naming properties automatically. One click configuration!

What the Heck Does RTA Do?

There is nothing like the thrill of being out at an industry tradeshow and watching an engineer sheepishly approach with an inquisitive look. “Are you the guys that do that newsletter?” they ask. “Yep, that’s us.” The problem is that far to often after some pleasantries about the newsletter I hear the same question. “So what do you guys do?” A six syllable phrase transformed into a dagger piercing my RTA business heart!

To be fair, if you aren’t a customer of RTA you might not know what RTA is about. We try to keep the newsletter as entertaining and informative as possible. But I think we have dropped the ball a bit doing the thing that keeps us around… selling RTA’s products, services and capabilities. I’d like to remedy that.

Move Your Data, Where, When and How you Want.
Is our simple mission. We help customers get data from one system, device physical layer or protocol to another. We do that 3.5 primary ways.

A big portion of our business is selling gateways. Gateways are the black boxes that help bridge different physical layers and protocols. Perfect for system integrators and end users trying to save legacy components or bridge dispersant systems.

We differentiate our gateways by always having them in stock, having the units built in the USA, offering a 5 year warranty and offering Industry Leading support and service. That last bit may seem like marketing fluff but give us a try and we will make you a believer.

Source Code Stacks:
Source Code stacks are perfect for machine builders that want to enable their products with a particular protocol. If you need to add EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, Profinet, Modbus or BACnet/IP to one of your devices give us a call. We operate on a simple ongoing royalty free model. You pay one time up front to license the code for a product line and can ship 2 to 2 trillion products at no additional cost.

We differentiate our solutions by having a very small footprint and by offering integration support second to none. You are working with an engineer who wrote the stack or has modified and implemented it in more than a dozen applications. We offer conformance support, protocol training and consulting to help you determine the protocols and data models you need to go after the market opportunity you are chasing.

Enabling Technology:
Encompasses all the daughter cards and embedded devices we sell. These are the perfect solutions for people who want to protocol enable their products but don’t have the space in their processors for source code or the engineering resources to change their current software. These typically interface to established solutions over serial lines often with a protocol like Modbus RTU.

You won’t find many of these solutions prominently advertised on our web site. These are faceless components we offer up to our OEM customers. If you think you have an application for an embedded enabling solution give us a call. After getting more information about your requirements I am sure we can find the perfect solution for you.

Design Services:
While not a huge part of our business we offer design consulting and application engineering services. We work with companies that are really good at making amazing products but are clueless about communications.

New Developments

  • New Din Rail Mounts on all Gateways
    • The new mounts are now our standard offering. Let me know what you think.
  • Change of state data exchange and Data Integrity is being rolled out to all 460 Line gateway solutions
    • These features should be standard in all solutions by 10/1/14.
  • Visit us at the AHR Expo on January 26-28, 2015
  • 435NBX and 490NBX Upgrades are Released. Changes Include:
    • SD card unit backup
    • Improved Homepage Diagnostics
    • Added manual test feature to send a string to the PLC or ASCII device from the gateway.
  • See us at the Profinet One Day Training in Detroit on Oct. 23rd