Extronics CEO, John Hartley had the pleasure of joining Howard Doherty, VP of sales at Cassia Networks recently to discuss the new ATX2000 Bluetooth gateway designed for hazardous areas. Extronics and Cassia Networks have brought together their collective expertise in wireless networks to develop an elegant BLE gateway for hazardous areas. The Extronics iWAP XN3 hazardous area wireless enclosure powered by the ATX2000 BLE gateway from Cassia Networks, allows users to access critical hazardous area data. Connecting smart sensors for applications such as condition monitoring is a key challenge for process industries, especially when that data is from within a hazardous area. Listen to the podcast and learn more about how the ATX2000 can help businesses collect smart sensor data at scale in hazardous areas. Listen to Podcast

Why do process industries represent a wireless networking challenge? The first thing to understand is that sites can cover vast areas often with large outdoor spaces. The outdoor areas vary from areas—such as tank farms and storage yards—to busy processing units packed with dense metallic structures. It is also significant that hazardous areas are likely scattered throughout these outdoor environments away from the main office buildings. Hazardous area wireless networks are difficult enough to deploy without the requirement of spanning multiple disparate locations. Deploying Wi-Fi in process areas like this is no easy task. Each project is different due to the nature of the environment and the intended use case in each area. Hence custom wireless solutions are often the go-to solution for hazardous area wireless networking. But where do you start with a custom […]

Are your devices certified for use in hazardous areas? Practically every wireless device manufacturer serving harsh industrial environments has been asked that question before. It is being posed more frequently than ever thanks to the IoT revolution. Process industries are increasingly adopting strategies for improved digitization across their sites and facilities. This naturally leads to questions about safety certification. If you are one of the few manufacturers who hasn’t been asked about safety-certified wireless devices already, don’t worry, it is only a matter of time. A common misconception among buyers is that standard wireless devices can be easily certified retrospectively. This is rarely the case. Getting an existing device approved to standards required for hazardous areas is no easy process. It isn’t low cost or quick to do either. Here we will run through some […]

Extronics’ trusted partner, MMX Communications needed a custom wireless network solution for a major petrochemical company. The client required a secondary communications link to an existing offshore platform. The secondary link would support a sub-sea cable and use microwave Line of Sight equipment. The electrical equipment also needed to be installed and work in an area on the platform that may have an explosive atmosphere present. Customer Requirements MMX Communications client needed to deploy a NEC iPasolink Digital Radio System and two outdoor units for the radios into a Zone 1 hazardous area of the site. The iPasolink hardware is too big for a lot of standard wireless access point systems available; MMX needed to find a manufacturer who could design a custom solution that still met all the required standards for operations in the […]

The standards surrounding the installation of a wireless access point in hazardous areas are often misinterpreted. It is not uncommon to think you can purchase a NEMA 4X or Ex e enclosure and simply install any wireless access point into your hazardous area. This is not true and overlooks a key clause of the standard assigned to deploying electrical equipment in hazardous areas. This article explains key aspects of the standard to consider when deploying wireless devices into hazardous areas. It also addresses why you cannot just use a NEMA 4X or Ex e enclosure to install none certified wireless access points in hazardous areas. Zone 2/Division 2 Hazardous Area Standards for Deploying Wireless Access Points There are many devices on the market, including WiFi Access Points, UHF RFID Readers, LoRa or BLE Gateways and […]

When installing a real time location system (RTLS) for worker safety, it is not uncommon for personnel to feel it is an attempt to track their every move, catching them out any time they run over a coffee break by thirty seconds. The fact is location tracking is designed to increase worker safety and ensure that in the event of an emergency, all on-site workers are looked after to avoid serious injury or loss of life. Worker safety becomes even more important when you consider that personnel in process industry environments face a variety of risks over and above their counterparts in other industries. ‘Hazards of the job’ are that much more serious, with a higher potential risk. Fire, working environment collapse, and explosion of flammable gas and dust are potential threats and whilst large-scale […]

Received signal strength indication (RSSI) location principle uses received signal strength to determine the location of the transmitting device. A wireless device sends a signal out and that signal is received by a gateway or access point. Multiple access points will pick up the signal and from that a received signal strength is determined by each access point. The further away the access point to the transmitting device the weaker the signal. In comparison, the closer the transmitting device is to an access point the stronger the received signal strength. Location is determined by receiving the signal from multiple access points and taking the different measurements to make an approximation of location by trilateration. The approximate location can then be positioned on a map. For example, an asset or a worker wearing a Wi-Fi RTLS […]

John Hartley, CEO of Extronics, talks about the next generation of site wide Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) using hybrid technology for improved worker safety and asset tracking. Why is location tracking important for worker safety? The safety of workers, whilst always important, is moving higher up the list of priorities for investment. Companies operating within the process industries are always looking to ensure their workers are safe whilst making sure they are getting the biggest ROI possible. Back in 2005, when the first intrinsically safe Active RFID Wi-Fi RTLS tags were made, the goal of the oil and gas industry was to use technology to improve worker safety. This is still true today, though adoption has been slow for various reasons, such as the maturity of available technology and concerns over costs and benefits. […]