Modern industrial measurement technology

Technologies familiar from the Internet or smartphones are increasingly being used in the industrial sector. Such requirements must also be fulfilled by industrial measurement technology. The PMX system uses numerous innovative concepts and therefore offers the user significant advantages.

The use of measurement technology is constantly growing for machines and plants in the industrial sector. In addition to the obvious demand for qualitatively correct and accurate measurement results, the simple integration capacity of measurement systems in modern automation environments is also coming to the fore. Investment security and expandability of measurement technology solutions, together with simple operation, are further important requirements. In order to meet these requirements for industrial measured data acquisition, the measurement technology specialist HBM has introduced their PMX system to the market. Sampling rates of 19.2 kHz per channel, a high precision of 0.1% FS and 24 Bit resolution, together with very high EMC resistance of the measurement amplifier guarantee the quality of the measured data.

Module solution offers security

The system comprises a basic device that holds up to five plug-in cards. The first slot is reserved for a communication card that enables integration within a higher-level automation system. The other four slots are then available for amplifiers with four channels each and for combination input/output cards. Currently, three different modules with measuring amplifiers are available for strain gauges (SGs), for analog standard measurement signals (current and voltage) and for digital and analog inputs/outputs. This allows the most frequently required physical quantities to be measured, e.g. force, torque, pressure, strain, temperature, etc. All modules are supplied with voltage via the basic device. The user has a high investment security through the modular construction if the plant needs to be expanded or modified at a later date. If additional measurement data are required for the application in the future, the system can simply be expanded with further measurement cards. If the four slots per system are not sufficient, larger systems can be set up then simply networked and synchronized with each other. The system also offers great advantages for the availability of the machine or plant. If a measuring amplifier ever fails, the corresponding card can simply be replaced. The time required for this and the related machine standstills are minimal.

Field buses for communication

Industrial measurement technology must do far more today than just acquire accurate measurement values. The measured values must also be made available rapidly and securely to a higher-level controller that takes over the automation of the machine. The support of modern field bus protocols such as Industrial Ethernet is therefore indispensable for industrial measurement technology. Large data volumes can also be rapidly transmitted in the PMX system, for instance, via the real time Ethernet protocols Ethercat and Profinet. The system also supports other field bus systems in addition to these real time Ethernet protocols. For example, a CANbus interface is available, permitting the connection of decentralized measurement modules. These could be temperature sensors, for instance, where high measurement frequencies are not necessary.

The PMX system can evaluate the measured signals internally using powerful digital signal processors in real time and therefore reduce the work of the higher-level controller. Regulation is also possible in addition to simple tasks of signal processing. The user also has up to 32 so-called virtual calculation channels available as well as the maximum 16 measurement channels that such a PMX system offers. These calculation channels can be used to realize simple mathematical calculations such as total sums or mean value determination right up to PID controllers. All measured values and the derived values calculated in the virtual calculation channels can be transmitted in real time with up to 10 kHz via Ethernet to the controller which is therefore significantly relieved.

Modern operating concept

HBM has also opened up new routes with regards to operation. Every PMX system has an innovative web server that not only visualizes the status of the system and the measurement data, but also enables operation and configuration. The Google Web Toolkit (GWT), with which browser-independent Javascript applications can be developed, is used here. GWT technology is mainly used to develop user interfaces for web applications. The user interface of the PMX system is therefore easy and intuitive to operate for the user as it is similar to numerous other web applications. In addition, it has another great advantage for the user: As the user interface is purely web-based, special software does not need to be installed - a standard PC or laptop with browser is entirely sufficient. This allows mobile applications as well as remote control operation and control to be realized, reducing commissioning/ maintenance times and therefore saving costs.

To sum up

High quality and accurate measurement technology, combined with integrated intelligence and rapid data transmission, are the core features of the HBM PMX system. The modular structure allows the system to be extended at any time and be adapted to new requirements so that the user has high investment security. Typical applications for such industrial measurement systems are found in machine and plant engineering, for example monitoring of presses, in the sector of assembly, joining and plant monitoring, test benches and end-of-line tests. The PMX system offers advantages, particularly with regards to complex automation solutions, through the communication options using Industrial Ethernet. Modern operating concepts such as GWT technology make configuration and operation very simple for the user.

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