Communication protocols and standards have been around since the late 1970’s and ‘make things talk to each other’ which is great, but surely this is just the norm – so why would we be interested in talking about them?
In reality, they are so much more than mundane ways of working that operate in the background without needing our consideration. They are evolving and essential to the future of smart industrial plants and smart buildings
The truth is that networks and communication protocols do more than just ‘talk’ to each other.
Have you ever found yourself speaking in a different language from people around you? You are trying to communicate, and your grammar is correct but there is no use in the conversation if the person you are speaking to is not receiving or understanding you message. This makes the conversation pointless and shows the importance of a common, standardized language of communication. Similarly, communication protocols are referred to as the language for the interconnection of smart devices.
Without modern state-of-the-art communication protocols and proper integration, we will not be able to ensure the availability and efficiency of the plant by controlling and monitoring it remotely.
Why protocols have become so important
Communication protocols in remote energy monitoring and control have become key to ensure that smart plants and buildings are working both continuously and efficiently.
Different devices in a building or plant need a common ‘language’ or protocol to communicate. The protocol specifies the requirements or format that each device must conform to during communication, then industrial devices use these requirements to form a well-structured message.
In essence, communication protocols can be compared to sending a letter. When we send a letter, we address the envelope with the sender and receiver, so it is clear where the letter originated and where it is going. In the envelope we place our letter containing the information that we want to send and ‘certify’ this message with a stamp on the envelope.
The same happens when we want to enable communication between industrial devices and systems. The communication can only be effective when the protocols are addressed properly. So, protocols will best define what is communicated, how it is communicated and when.
Nowadays, the ability to integrate smart devices into a fully connected ecosystem is becoming more and more essential. Gaining intelligent insights from all devices and being able to control them remotely is one of the fundamental requirements for new plants and their devices.
How ABB maximizes benefits through protocols
Communication protocols provide more efficient system designs by simplifying integration and commissioning of data communication networks, reducing installation costs, and allowing independent testing and validation.
- To make sure that its solutions ‘talk’ to each other, ABB has embedded protocols in its metering devices allowing accurate real-time energy data monitoring in any application. This enables customers to optimize energy and facility management, while improving building performance through remote energy monitoring and control, built on improved interconnection of smart devices.
- Constant diagnostics and real time notifications ensure total transparency over how the electrical system is performing. Connectivity based solutions also increases awareness of resources and process behaviors, so asset management can then be optimized through the control and monitoring of operations and costs.
For example, ABB’s new System pro M compact InSite is a Modbus RTU Master, able to collect information from up to 16 Modbus slaves simultaneously, allowing complete monitoring, analysis and control of the overall system. The InSite solution, with full connectivity to field devices such as energy and power meters, network analyzers and protection devices like MCBs and RCDs, helps users to detect risks at an early stage through total transparency, constant diagnostics and real time notifications.
When it comes to field devices, one of the latest developments from ABB is its M4M 30 Ethernet network analyzer, which, thanks to two RJ45 ports on board, allows a ‘daisy chain’ connection for faster wiring and removes the need for extra Ethernet switches.
- Using Modbus RTU or Modbus TCP/IP protocol also allows customers to upgrade to more advanced digital solutions such as ABB Ability™ Energy and Asset Manager cloud-computing platform to maximize operational efficiency.
- With the broad ABB product portfolio embedded with the different communication protocols, including Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP/IP, Profibus DP-V0, M-bus, SNMP, Ethernet/IP and BACnet/IP, ABB ensures customers’ components are running at optimum efficiency, processing the plant or building data to ensure a continuous and efficient operation.
For more information on the digital and connected solution from ABB click here