With the introduction of the SmartBlue application (app), to be used alongside its FMR 10 and FMR 20 hand-held radar devices, measurement and automation equipment manufacturer Endress +Hauser says the app allows for radar measurements to be taken in hazardous and difficult- to-reach places at construction sites.
Endress+Hauser marketing head Hennie Blignaut explains that SmartBlue, installed in the radar devices, can be operated from a 20 m radius to measure the flow rate, level or the temperature of the surrounding air and ground, which also allows for easy access to data that is being captured.
“For maintenance purposes, the SmartBlue app ensures that all data is always at hand and in real time. “The app is based on Bluetooth wireless technology and requires no separate driver, which means that time is saved with mobile access to radar devices.”
Several features of the app increase the use of radar devices from Endress+Hauser, including the use of diagnostics and real-time process information that are not limited by a hazardous area, the transformation of encoded and secure data, as well as the reliability of the information, Blignaut points out.
However, he highlights that the SmartBlue app is not the only new technology being supplied by Endress+Hauser – the Heartbeat technology allows for cost-effective and safe plant operation by combining diagnosis, verification and monitoring functions.
“Instruments equipped with the Heartbeat technology excel at doing permanent process diagnosis and extensive in situ diagnosis functions. Verification can be done without any dismantling of the devices or interruption of the processes. In this way, you can significantly reduce your verification efforts,” Blignaut explains.
The Heartbeat technology is part of Endress+Hauser’s system to decrease the challenges faced by companies trying to adapt to the Internet of Things (IoT), a system of devices where everything can be controlled and monitored from one location.
He says that most companies, from suppliers to end-users, are battling to come to terms with the IoT: “The fact of the matter is that the IoT is here to stay, in whichever form or fact . . . A device that is able to ‘talk’ to other devices and operators . . . [provides] information or data instantaneously, which is required by . . . the engineering, maintenance and operations departments.”
This, in turn, allows for timeous decisions to be made, fully using data other than just the flow rate, level or the temperature shown on the application, Blignaut explains.
Meanwhile, with the advent of access to the Internet on personal computers and mobile smartphones, as well as the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), technologies will be vulnerable to cyberthreats and cyberattacks, says Blignaut. Understanding threats and the motivation behind them becomes just as important as the need to introduce security measures to all industrial equipment, he adds.
“Endress+Hauser, along with a number of other instrumentation suppliers, therefore, adapted the security systems used in the banking sector and its encryption system to ensure secure data transfer and management of projects amid the growing IIoT,” he points out.
This is required because technology changes in all spheres of engineering – from the design process to the design layout of a plant – at a rapid pace, which decreases time available for the completion of a project.
Blignaut concludes that companies that are building new mines, food production plants or manufacturing facilities have one common goal – to start production as quickly as possible, as “engineering companies want to facilitate increased technology use”.