The Wago IPC is a compact industrial PC solution for real-time control applications, e.g offshore automation in hazardous areas, as this article shows.
When an oil or gas well is drilled, the drill pipes, risers, and casings must be securely connected as they are assembled. This is done using a special handling tool which uses a carefully determined torque to grip each section. Torque setting and other operations are normally carried out manually, but for offshore drilling in Norway the operator wished to automate the operation of the handling tool, which covers pipe diameters of 27⁄8–20 inches (60–510 mm) and has a maximum torque capacity of 150,000 ft lb (205,000 Nm).
The application called for a particularly light and compact control system suitable for harsh environmental conditions. This proved an ideal job for a Wago industrial PC and I/O system.
Controlled Via Joysticks
The operator controls the handling tool through an operator panel and a “torque/turn” computer. All functions are controlled via two joysticks, plus various rotary switches and buttons. A display indicates the most important status information. The computer allows the user to check and evaluate both the execution and the quality of each pipe connection. This data also provides project validation for the final customer.
A Wago 758 Series industrial PC (IPC) is housed in a field cabinet. It is equipped with standard 750 Series I/O modules and an RS-485 interface card (750-653) for serial communication with the operator panel. The Wago-IPC 750-870 operates as a Profibus master for two 750-333 fieldbus couplers. To connect the field signals, the couplers are equipped with both standard and Ex-i I/O modules. Using these modules, Ex-i sensors and actuators can be connected from Zone 1 hazardous areas.
Immediate Access to All the Necessary Data
An Ethernet interface links the torque/turn computer to the IPC, communicating via Modbus/TCP protocol. This gives the operator immediate access to all the necessary data.
The I/O system is engineered and tested for use under the most demanding environmental conditions, including temperature cycling, shock, vibration, and electrostatic discharge. Wago’s Spring Pressure Connection Technology guarantees continuous operation, while minimizing commissioning and maintenance costs. The I/O system provides a safe and easy connection from Zone 2/22 to sensors and actuators of Zones 0/20 and 1/21.
Despite its small size, the IPC integrates all standard PC functions, including network and fieldbus interfaces for local and remote control applications, and allows direct connection of Wago I/O modules. The compact housing is mountable on DIN 35 rail.
* The author is an employee with Wago Kontakttechnik GmbH & Co. KG, Minden/Germany.