There is always more than one way to get something done. When it comes to work around my house, my favorite is not doing it at all. I take that approach with landscaping, flower beds, shrubbery, cutting the grass and everything else I can get away with. [Bruce somebody or other on the radio once said that you can always tell the house that is owned by a business owner – it usually has the worst looking yard in the neighborhood]
I’ve been working lately with a Machine Builder/Integrator in the HVAC business. There’s a couple of interesting points about this application.
One is that I constantly forget that many, many of the people that use our products are not Ethernet experts. It’s just another technology that they have to deal with. This morning I explained the different between a hub, switch and router again. We all have to remember, no matter what our business is, that our business is very intimate to us but very foreign to our customers. They don’t know the terminology, systems and operation of that slice of the world.
Another is that point above about the number of ways to get things done. These people are doing a HVAC Tent System that has 14 80-Ton Compressors each with a bunch of drives, soft starters, HVAC Controllers and such. They need to connect this stuff up to the main Tent controller. I designed a network of Modbus TCP subnets that make sense for this system but I know that there is probably another 5 or 10 ways to do it. I’m probably not doing it the cheapest way but this will work and it will be reliable.
One interesting aspect of this system is that these systems will be located all over the world and they want to monitor them from Michigan. This raises the issue I’ve been talking about for a long time; the need for remote monitoring. Remote monitoring of data and archiving operational data is becoming more and more important.
I spoke with another customer just a few days ago that has a machine with PLC controls that really is a stand-alone unit. They need to record data but can’t count on having an Ethernet network nearby. They don’t need if often enough or critical enough to go cellular or satellite so they are going to use some of our standard product with an 8 megabyte SD card. That’s something that you’ll see on our website in a few weeks.
Well, gotta go. The weeds out front have gotten to the point where the neighbors are picketing the house.