Wireless – It’s More Prevalent than You Thought

PROFINET can be connected wirelessly as easily as it can be connected with wires.  Of the four kinds of wireless (see previous post), this post is about wireless in discrete automation.  Moreover, it’s about places where wireless has already been used.


Here are a half dozen application stories that rely on wireless:

Fori Automation Story – Giant Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) move airplane parts autonomously and safely, positioning a wing frame within 5mm.

Steel Industry – moving steel coils through a half mile long tunnel using a “leaky coax” antenna.  You might have seen this in the PROFINEWS App – you have downloaded it, right?

Swedish Tower – an amusement park tower 380 feet tall includes a Wireless Access Point (WAP) in the glass elevator and also uses a “leaky coax” antenna.

Disney Toy Story Midway Mania – another amusement park application.  This application gave rise to a cartoon.

Disney Radiator Springs Racers – while we’re at Disney… let’s race… safely, thanks to wireless PROFINET and PROFIsafe.

Two Steel Industry Applications – moving steel coils again – this time via AGVs and cranes.

What’s the business rationale?  I think that is mostly uptime.  One application where wireless replaces wired is where wires were easily damaged.  A gantry crane with festooned cables.  A rotating machine with slip rings.  (From my days at a machinery OEM, I remember slip rings being a maintenance headache.)   If AGVs have trailing cables, they wear out.  Wireless AGVs are “free range” AGVs; they don’t have to follow loops embedded in the floor.  This provides flexibility too.

For more information, read the PROFINET technology page wireless section.

For even more depth, watch our archived webinar, Industrial Wireless Networking.

And, of course, we cover wireless in our free PROFINET one-day training classes around North America.

–Carl Henning