A manufacturer of world renowned ‘green’ agricultural, consumer and construction equipment has implemented B&B Electronics’ Zlinx wireless products.

The company’s backhoe assembly line consists of automated guide vehicles (AGV) that tug backhoe units between assembly stations. Using wired serial communications, internal intelligence guides mobile AGVs along a magnetic path in the floor. Since there was no communication from the AGVs back to the PLC controlling assembly processes, an approaching AGV could run into another AGV still at a station. Quality control processes and build times were suffering and manufacturing times were extended.

With the installation of B&B Electronics’ Zlinx wireless products, featuring the Zlinx Manager software, AGVs are now wirelessly managed through the PLC and processes are maintained by a single, remote group. Quality control improved and manufacturing lead times were reduced.

Upgraded Zlinx Manager software

B&B Electronics recently released the next generation of Zlinx Manager software for its Zlinx radio modems and Zlinx wireless I/O product lines. Software upgrades include enhanced security, peer-to-peer mirrored I/O mapping, superior low-latency response rates (8ms/digital), field calibration, user-defined fail-safe output states, and Modbus compatibility.

Improved low latency allows the fastest real-time control and monitoring on the market. Enhanced security features on Zlinx long range models include 256-bit AES encryption, software selectable RF power and OTA data rates. Short range models feature 128-bit encryption and software selectable RF power. Peer-to-peer I/O configuration allows one-to-one mapping of two identical systems. Point-to-point I/O mapping and Modbus to I/O point-to-point mapping are possible.

Field calibration calculates correction factors to improve I/O value accuracy and better match sensors. Fail-safe output states allow resetting I/O to a user-defined safe state in the event of communication failure. In Modbus modes, exception reporting can alert to problems with connected devices. Communications failure alarm configures the first D/O as a COM failure alert. Inverter outputs allow flexibility in logic to control output devices.

With Zlinx series radio modems, I/O products and the enhanced software, users can set up connections to serial or Modbus systems to monitor and control remote I/O at hard-to-reach locations without running wire.