Smart Mobile Devices Configurator Tablet Designed for Industrial Use

Author / Editor: Christian Uhl* / Ahlam Rais

For process automation specialist Endress+Hauser, the Field Xpert SMT70 plant asset management tablet has become an indispensable mobile workstation for customer applications. The hardware basis for this intelligent mobile device is provided by the Pad-Ex 01 from Pepperl+Fuchs brand Ecom Instruments, an intrinsically safe Windows tablet for industrial use. Thanks to the combination of this hardware and the cloud-based IIoT ecosystem Netilion, Endress+Hauser was able to master a tricky diagnostic task at a customer company and resolve previously inexplicable plant downtimes.

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For process automation specialist Endress+Hauser, the Field Xpert SMT70 configurator tablet is a reliable companion for mobile plant asset management and field device administration.
For process automation specialist Endress+Hauser, the Field Xpert SMT70 configurator tablet is a reliable companion for mobile plant asset management and field device administration.
(Source: Endress+Hauser)

Certain industries such as the chemical industry are more challenging in terms of smart plant asset management than others. Sprawling manufacturing sites suggest mobile solutions instead of permanently installed terminals to extend the range of movement for employees. At the same time, the special conditions in the chemical industry, especially hazardous areas, place specific demands on the mobile devices used. These must not only be robust and intrinsically safe, but must also be able to display complex diagnostic applications in a comprehensible and intuitive manner. Last but not least, the appropriate communication protocols must ensure digital communication in the industry 4.0 and IoT context.

The example of an international manufacturer of acrylic products shows how the use of suitable mobile devices in the chemical industry can significantly facilitate processes. The plant’s employees could not make sense of a repeatedly occurring anomaly: A meter intended to measure the flow emanating from a reagent tank was regularly outputting a zero value despite the presence of flow. Internal causal research did not provide a satisfactory explanation for this measurement error. The situation was all the more urgent in view of the fact that a measured flow of zero triggers automatic safety precautions. These bring crucial processes in production to a halt and generate high costs due to the productivity losses associated with the plant shutdown.

To resolve the measurement anomaly as quickly as possible and stop the process interruptions, the chemical company turned to the measurement specialists at Endress+Hauser for diagnostic support.

During field operations, the company engineers use the Field Xpert SMT70 configurator tablet as a reliable companion for mobile plant asset management and field device administration. Used as a mobile workstation, it enables the specialists to move freely around the production site to conduct configuration and diagnostic processes. The intrinsically safe design enables the use in hazardous areas. The rugged tablet supports Heartbeat Technology, which the firm uses to measure pressure, flow, level and for various diagnostic applications.

The rugged Field Xpert SMT70 tablet based on Ecom's Pad-Ex 01 supports Heartbeat Technology, which Endress+Hauser uses to measure pressure, flow, level and for various diagnostic applications.
The rugged Field Xpert SMT70 tablet based on Ecom's Pad-Ex 01 supports Heartbeat Technology, which Endress+Hauser uses to measure pressure, flow, level and for various diagnostic applications.
(Source: Endress+Hauser)

The cloud-based IIoT ecosystem Netilion, which is set up in accordance with Namur Open Architecture, structures the measurement data and makes it accessible in the cloud. The data is also accessible via Rest API and OPC UA communication protocols. The user remains the owner of the data and can authorize users for data access.

In this case, too, the combination of Heartbeat Technology and Netilion was able to shed light on the problem. The cause of the fault turned out to be a defective cable, a malfunction that could be rectified within minutes.

Field Xpert SMT70 has thus also proven itself in a new application scenario. The tablet is the result of a trusting partnership between Endress+Hauser and the Pepperl+Fuchs brand Ecom Instruments. Ecom supplied the Pad-Ex 01 intrinsically safe industrial tablet as the hardware basis for the Field Xpert SMT70, while Endress+Hauser provided the firmware, including the Netilion ecosystem. Within this technology partnership, the company benefits not only from the robustness and high data and device security, but also from the versatility of the Windows tablet for use in Zone 2/22 and Div. 2.

The features of the Pad-Ex 01 are designed for use in demanding environments, such as in the oil, gas and chemical industries. Complex applications as well as web-based content can be displayed accurately and conveniently on the large display of the industrial tablet PC. With all the necessary robustness, the tablet remains lightweight and compact to facilitate movement and transition between different areas within the plant. Plant management, inventory management, process automation, maintenance or operations in transport and logistics - the Pad-Ex 01 makes daily work in the industrial environment safer and easier.

* The author is Head of Communication, Global Marketing, Ecom Instruments

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