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Easy Planning of WirelessHART Networks with 3-D Simulation Tool WiNC

WirelessHART Network Simulation WiNC
The WirelessHART network simulation WiNC displays WirelessHART coverage across plants in an easy to understand graphical overview

During the planning of WirelessHART networks for process plants, obstacles must be worked through. The task is to establish reliable network coverage in various types of industrial plants while keeping costs for hardware devices as low as possible. The construction design and environmental influences within each plant varies.

For that reason, many installations have to use a trial-and-error approach. Devices have to be continuously set up right at the plant until the network runs smoothly. This approach does cost precious time and money when more repeaters than expected have to be installed.

With WiNC (WirelessHART Network Checker), Pepperl+Fuchs offers a 3-D simulation tool that solves these problems. WiNC enables professional planning of WirelessHART networks and makes numerous onsite visits obsolete – saving time and money during the planning of an industrial plant.

Exact mapping of plants and environmental conditions

The foundation for the precise simulation of WirelessHART networks rests on the exact simulation of the onsite circumstances. That is where the modeling tool WiNCMod comes into play. It enables plant engineers to create an accurate image of the plant where the WirelessHART network shall be established. If 2-D and 3-D plant data is available, users directly import the information from their CAD tool to WiNCMod. If this data is not available, users can create their plant using preconfigured, typical plant elements that are already contained in the software.

After that, users assign different materials (for instance, steel, concrete, or stone) to the parts, as these have a strong influence on range and transmission of the WirelessHART signals. The WirelessHART devices (like adapters, gateways, repeaters, or temperature converters) and their quantity are set up and named in Gateway DTM (Device Type Manager), which runs within PACTware software.

During the next step, WiNCSim – the simulation tool of the 3-D planning software – acquires the exported component list from Gateway DTM as a CSV file. The user then places the WirelessHART components across the plant map at ideal distances to one another while paying attention to optimal mounting height.

From WirelessHART network simulation to application

The simulation test, which is based on a raytracing algorithm, now shows whether the planned repeaters ensure complete signal coverage and if more repeaters have to be planned. After adding routers, the optimized number of devices is imported by Gateway DTM as a CSV table. Furthermore, the plant map with all devices is being imported by PACTware, enabling an all-around view of the complete WirelessHART network topology. With this comprehensive 3-D topology view, WiNC from Pepperl+Fuchs leads to time and cost savings, and closes the circle from plant planners to network planners.

Highlights of 3-D WirelessHART network simulation tool WiNC

  • Allows installation of gapless WirelessHART networks
  • Enables ideal placement of all WirelessHART network participants
  • Less time needed for planning and commissioning
  • Reduces installation costs through reduced need for repeaters