Industrial alarms are necessary to protect the safety of workers, adhere to regulations, and protect the company’s bottom line. As technology marches on, wireless options provide a cost effective means to provide safety with greater flexibility than wired alarms. Before deciding on the appropriate approach for your business, we should examine the pros and cons of wireless industrial alarms.
Business needs may not stay consistent with time. A industrial wireless alarm system will typically feature a central hub unit that serve as the “brain” of the system. The hub is able to talk to multiple detection units within the appropriate range. The range of the system depends on several factors, including modem hardware, terrain, and radio interference. Multi-channel technology ensures the hub is always in communication with the detectors. A hub will typically feature a USB jack and Wi-Fi to make it easy for authorized workers to access the system via smart phone or tablet.
Detectors can easily be added or removed as the needs of the business change. Not enough range? An extended antenna or amplifier can provide an appropriate signal boost.
Older generation products would often require lengthy installation processes. Setup required a person to configure the detector manually; inputting range, parameters, and gas type. Wireless detectors can upload the appropriate information from a central database from the hub after detecting the gas type it is monitoring. Automation reduces the chance for human error and simplifies setup.
The wireless technology of today is just as affordable as any wired industrial alarm. In fact, maintenance and upkeep is easier due to the lack of wires. A detection unit can be placed anywhere within range and easily added to the central hub network. Installation is relatively simple, the hub can be controlled by a number of devices, and there are no cumbersome wires to run. That equates to saving valuable man-hours on things like installation and future maintenance.
The Cons of Wireless Alarms
So what are the cons of wireless industrial alarms? Those are hard to pin-point because this isn’t bleeding edge technology. Decades ago it probably wouldn’t have been wise to rely on wireless technology. Manufacturers have had plenty of time to shore up the weaknesses in these systems to ensure that companies can safely monitor any Class/Division hazard.
Connectivity? Multi-channel communication ensures the devices will always be talking to one another. Power? The devices have an AC and DC option for power source. Back up DC power supplies are often available. Class 1 Division 1 hazard monitoring? Make the device compliant with an optional NEMA 7 enclosure.
At this point, there are really no meaningful cons associated with taking your industrial alarm wireless. It is simply more convenient and cost effective than alternatives.