Bluetooth makes sensor adjustment simple and easy

Bluetooth devices have become ubiquitous in the lives of consumers. Vega is at the forefront of integrating Bluetooth with industrial devices and sensors.

Bluetooth devices have become ubiquitous in the lives of consumers. Vega is at the forefront of integrating Bluetooth with industrial devices and sensors.

Bluetooth solutions are being used more in industrial applications. Wireless data transmission now enables convenient operation with smartphones and tablets, making configuring inaccessible devices, or those in harsh environments, easier. Since access to the sensors is wireless, Bluetooth makes the complex hazardous area authorisation procedures/permits that are usually required a thing of the past.

Modularity, compatibility, and simple setup and operation have been the top priority at VEGA ever since the introduction of the plics platform. The best proof of this is PLICSCOM, the display and adjustment module that can be used on any plics sensor. Of the more than 1.5 million plics transmitters sold since 2002, approximately 700,000 were delivered with this universal display and adjustment module.

Adding an optional Bluetooth option into PLICSCOM allows a sensor to be remotely adjusted from about 25 metres away. In some instances, adjustments can be made from further away.

How Bluetooth makes everything better

This modern communication standard allows convenient setup, adjustment, measured value display and diagnosis via smartphone or tablet. The functions are integrated into the free, universal VEGA Tools app. The user does not have to load additional apps for different sensors on his smartphone. No update of the sensor software is necessary. The adjustment structure is straightforward, like the one most users use on their PC.

Sensors can also be parameterised wirelessly via PC or laptop via a Bluetooth USB adapter. This communication channel makes it possible to access connected sensors via PACTware and adjust them in the usual way.

Bluetooth sensor adjustment designed to be user friendly

PLICSCOM is backwards compatible and can be integrated into any plics sensor supplied since 2002 easily. Additionally, no firmware changes are required. Sensors can then be wirelessly adjusted right away. It applies to about 70 different level and pressure transmitter variants. This is further multiplied by the different VEGA housings, flanges, and electronic versions.

In many production facilities, measuring points are sometimes challenging and often located in dangerous places. Cereal, flour, and animal feed are usually stored in tall silos. The level sensors are installed at the top of such containers. Climbing to the top in bad weather with equipment can be a challenging, if not dangerous, task.

This is often the case if technicians need to adjust on-site. They may have to brave dust, heavy rain, strong winds, extreme temperatures and even snow to ensure optimal utilisation of the facilities. With Bluetooth, such challenges can be handled from a safe distance, conveniently and more cost-effectively. The main argument for this modern transmission standard is its great convenience: no cabling, ladders, or scaffolding. Hot work permits for hazardous areas are generally not required.

With the new display and adjustment module, a magnetic pen can also be used for contactless sensor adjustment through the window of the closed lid. This keeps the sensor well protected. In demanding, dirty measuring environments, technicians can adjust on-site without removing their gloves. Since the housing remains closed during operation, permits for Ex areas (fire prevention certificates) are not required. This new tool is unique in the process industry.

Preparing for the digital age and data security

In the digital age, data security is of paramount importance. Companies must protect their free flow of data in wireless networks against hackers and Internet criminals. PLICSCOM, with Bluetooth, is equipped with a two-fold data protection system. First, a four-digit PIN must be entered to connect the sensor to the VEGA Tools app. Authorised users can change this PIN at any time if needed.

In addition, Bluetooth communication is encrypted and thus protected against unauthorised access to data. This double protection ensures that the user’s data is always secure. Bluetooth communication can also be switched off via a physical switch.

The third generation PLICSCOM is the latest step VEGA has taken in expanding and perfecting the setup, adjustment, and diagnostic functions of its standardised, modular instrument platform plics. There are four methods of operation available to the user. Two occur directly on site – conventional finger-touch operation and non-contact operation with a magnetic pen. The other two can take place at a safe distance with wireless – PACTware/DTM on a PC or laptop with Bluetooth USB adapter and VEGA Tools app on a smartphone or tablet.

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