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Process control using a fiber-optic unified cabling systems

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2 Author(s)
Byres, E.J. ; British Columbia Inst. of Technol., Burnaby, BC, Canada ; Mitchell, C.

In an ideal world, communications cabling for process control would be simple-buy all the computer, instrumentation, and electrical equipment from a single vendor, and connect it all together using a single cabling standard. But real life is never that simple; rarely are the programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS), drives, motor controls, field instrumentation, and computers all purchased from the same vendor. Supplying power to all this different equipment certainly doesn't require separate cabling structures, so why shouldn't the same be true for communications needs? Wouldn't a standard cabling infrastructure minimize the cabling infrastructure cost and complexity? The engineering group of a Canadian pulp and paper mill wondered about these two questions. They were designing a new steam plant and decided to investigate the possibility of making a single process communication cabling "utility" through the plant. The result was a design methodology that allowed a standardized cabling system to serve all communications needs throughout the process areas. Fiber-optic cable was chosen for all communications cabling outside of the control or electrical rooms. While the noise immunity and high data carrying capacity of fiber-optic cable was a factor, the primary reason was that fiber-optic cabling was the only system that could provide a single medium suitable for the very wide range of communications equipment in the mill

Published in:

Industry Applications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )