At the core of many real-time systems is the communications network. Whether you're gathering data from a few devices on a local network, or have hundreds of devices scattered across a wide area, the communications network is key to the successful operation of your system. In fact, in any real-time system, it is the communications infrastructure that can make or break it.
VRT have been implementing complex communications networks since the day the company was founded over 25 years ago. From RS232 and RS485 to fibre optics, Wavenis and Zigbee mesh networks to GPRS/GSM/4G, we've implemented it, and along the way we've got to know the products and suppliers that work well, those that don't, and those that have their strengths in particular applications. We bring this experience to bear, and can design, source, supply, install, commission and support equipment from a wide range of vendors:
Simple media converters are protocol-agnostic, and in many cases are a good choice for integrating large populations of serial devices in a location because you can mix and match protocols on the same device. Small-scale serial/EThernet converters are available from a range of suppliers such as Advantech and Moxa, and for devices that really scale, with an unmatched warranty and extreme temperature specifications, we recommend CET communications equipment from our partners CETA.
Modbus is the open protocol of choice for most low-level serial-connected devices, and vendors like Advantech and Moxa have a wide range of Modbus gateways that convert between Modbus RTU and Modbus TCP and vice-versa. For applications with a need to support other protocols like Rockwell's EThernet/IP, we also use devices from Digi.
Data Loggers and Data Concentrators
When it comes to options for providing intelligence and persistent storage in the field we can draw on a very wide range of options, and can't do them all justice here. The matching of equipment to your requirements is one of VRT's core areas of expertise, so if you have a requirement to fulfil, let us know and we'll see what we can do. If your requirement isn't well serviced by existing options, we may be able to integrate something for you anyway (a couple fo the options below are the result of us finding a need, and writing interface drivers to support the necessary equipment) -
- VRT WAGES Hub: VRT's own WAGES Hub is a meter data concentrator that supports the integration of metering data from a wide range of sources and "pushing" the data up into business reporting and Energy Management systems. It supports the aggregation of data from Wireless (mesh and 3G/4G) connected meters, EDMI, SATEC and a range of other Modbus meters, and integrates the log data with EMS software like Schneider's StruxureWare® Power Monitoring 7 (ION Enterprise), or CET's PecStar, your own business data warehouse, or an online energy monitoring and reporting solution like the Switch Smart Hub. What's more, VRT are now distributing the WAGES Hub nationally through CETA, so you don't have to worry about being locked in to a single integrator when it comes to the suplly, installation and support of meter data collection solutions.
- DataCell: This self-powered data logger communicates via the 3G or 4G mobile network and can be used for a wide range of data logging tasks. We support the DataCell file-by-email delivery mechanism so we can sit safely behind your firewall and use the public mobile network, or use a private WAN/MAN solution from your preferred telco provider.
- Wavenis®: Wavenis is a highly optimized wireless technology for wireless sensor network (WSN) applications. With a finely tuned balance of long-range wireless connectivity and ultra-low power consumption, Wavenis offers a host of features to simplify network installation, remote control, data monitoring, and automated 2-way communications. Our WAGES hub supports the integration of water metering equipment via WaveFlow data loggers and WaveTalk repeaters.
- CET PMC-518: The PMC‐518 RTU is an intelligent remote terminal unit, featuring quality construction, DIN rail mount and a large, easy to read LCD display. It has applications in status monitoring and remote control, as a pulse concentrator for collecting WAGES (Water, Air, Gas, Electricity, Steam) energy information, or in substation, building or factory automation and energy management.