Industrial Wireless Sensor Network R&D platform

Background

Electrical utilities and industrial manufacturers are continuously striving for new ways to lower costs and extend equipment lifetime through effective asset management strategies. One established method for determining the condition of plant is online condition monitoring (CM), which aims to detect and manage incipient defects at the earliest possible stage.

To reduce costs and simplify the deployment of CM systems, industry is turning to the state-of-the-art in industrial wireless sensor network (IWSN) technology to build secure and robust monitoring networks designed for hostile industrial environments. As part of a research project funded by National Grid, an open and extensible IWSN platform has been developed to support research into novel ways of monitoring electrical plant health. A wireless CM network based upon this platform is deployed into the University of Strathclyde Microgrid Laboratory and plans are in place for the platform to be rolled out and extended into the Power Network Demonstration Centre.

The platform, while being initially used for smart grid monitoring applications, is application-independent and can be used as the basis of any industrial wireless sensing project. With the hardware schematics released under a Creative Commons licence and the software components released under the MIT licence, this enables universities and industry to leverage the platform royalty free in their research and development.

Technology

The platform incorporates an integrated hardware and software platform for researching and developing industrial wireless sensing applications based upon the International Society of Automation (ISA) wireless standard ISA100.11a. The platform contains designs for all interfacing hardware and software required to use ISA100.11a radio hardware from Nivis LLC (www.nivis.com), providing a fast track to developing custom standards-based wireless sensors while cutting the cost of developing such systems.

The hardware and software are primarily designed to be used with the open-source Arduino platform which has become a preferred platform for collaborative and university research projects. The platform was designed for extensibility, so both hardware and software components can be easily extended for use with other embedded microprocessor architectures.

Key benefits

  • an off-the-shelf, standards-based, industrial wireless sensor network research and development platform
  • licensed under MIT and Creative Commons licences, allowing the platform components to be used in commercial projects
  • modular and flexible, designed to be used with any microcontroller/microprocessor architecture dependent on the application

Markets & applications

  • smart grid monitoring
  • industrial process control and monitoring

Licensing & development

The technology is being offered free under open source licenses. Please email Research & Knowledge Exchange Services or call +44(0)141 548 3707.