Everything live - ASi Control Tools360
With their intuitive, all-round carefree software ASIMON360 Bihl+Wiedemann has set new standards for simple configuration of safety applications, on view at SPS IPC Drives 2016. But that’s not all: the simplify-your-automation offensive of the company based in Mannheim now also enters the non-safety area with the next generation of the ASi Control Tools. A particular highlight is the online bus information, which enables live parameter setting and live diagnostics of systems – an option which offers big advantages when integrating intelligent sensors such as IO-Link.
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Fig. 1: Online bus information as a part of ASi Control Tools360
Readers were enthused and bought more than four million copies when at the beginning of the new millennium the selfmanagement advisor “Simplify Your Life” appeared. In the meantime the title of the bestseller has long become the dictum when it comes to how to simplify one’s life in our ever more complex world.
That simplification is also a matter of urgency in the increasingly complex world of automation is doubtless one of the decisive success factors of AS-Interface. One single cable for power and data, freedom of topology, less wiring effort, safe and non-safe signals on the same cable, optimal granularity, simple configuration – these are just some of the advantages that have rapidly made the system the absolutely unchallenged de facto standard on the primary automation level.
”As easy as ASi“ became an early credo among the rapidly growing number of users who place value on efficient, flexible and above all straightforwardly implementable solutions for their standard applications as well as in their safety technology. Today one might put the guiding thought, that has always been at the top of the specification sheet for the AS-Interface specialists at Bihl+Wiedemann, a little differently when it comes to the development of their innovations: „Simplify Your Automation.“
One of the most recent quantum leaps in terms of simplification was represented for example by the Safety Software ASIMON360 introduced at SPS IPC Drives 2016, with the help of which the simplest safety bus in the world is now also as easy as child’s play to configure. The integrated hardware configuration especially saves much time and work for the project planner, since most of the settings – as one should expect from a truly intuitive software – are automatically set and done in the background.
This means that when planning the ASi network Safety Monitor and nodes are simply selected by article numbers from a list of available devices. Complications caused by incorrectly assigned components are truly yesterday’s news. The same applies to wrongly addressed nodes. After configuration, a commissioning wizard guides you step-by-step through the addressing process. And the best part: the user doesn’t have to be an ASi professional nor study manuals as thick as a telephone book.
Because in view of Internet of Things applications of the factory of tomorrow intelligent sensors and actuators are already trending today, Bihl+Wiedemann added an additional feature to its Safety Software in the following year: since the last SPS IPC Drives IO-Link sensors can also use ASIMON360 to be incorporated and configured in the AS-Interface network just as easily as standard ASi modules.
What began with the all-round carefree software for safety applications is now being continued with the same consistency in the standard area. As the next logical step, as part of the simplification strategy, a comprehensive update of the ASi Control Tools appeared. All the new features that had already proven themselves in ASIMON360 were carried over to the next generation of the ASi Control Tools: hardware catalog for simple insertion of products, commissioning wizard, user catalog for creating own templates and articles – to name just a few.
One highlight with which both the standard and the safety software were equipped is a new function called online bus information: it allows modules to be easily addressed and the in- and outputs then to be monitored live. The result is all new possibilities regarding diagnostics and configuration of systems:
- Errors in the ASi network, such as nonconfigured modules, are visible at a glance and understandable for anyone using simple symbols.
- The displayed instructions for eliminating the errors are unambiguous and offer valuable support to the user.
- All nodes can be individually selected and accessed.
- Inputs can be diagnosed, outputs can be set and parameters can be changed live.
Live changing of parameters makes sense not least for intelligent sensors such as IO-Link because this way one can see the effects of the new settings immediately. And it’s precisely for this dream team of AS-Interface and IO-Link that experts are anticipating a grandiose future in the age of industry 4.0. Especially since IO-Link, in contrast to the often-repeated misunderstanding, is not a bus system but rather a point-to-point connection, making it a perfect feeder for AS-Interface.
But that isn’t all: users of the new Software Suite BW2902 from Bihl+Wiedemann now get, as the perfect supplement to the new ASi Control Tools (ASi Control Tools360), the same unique diagnostic software from the company located in Mannheim which makes life even easier for users of AS-Interface. At the push of a button it starts a complete fitness check of the entire system and formulates the results in such understandable terms that even non-specialists will know exactly what to do. Here again: “Simplify Your Automation”.
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Fig. 2: Integration and configuration of an IO-Link sensor using ASi Control Tools360