Established data transmission technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have certain disadvantages: they can either transmit only small amounts of data or consume relatively high amounts of energy during transmission. In industrial environments there are other, additional challenges, for example reflections from steel surfaces or walls can interfere with the signals.
In order to open up a new option for wireless data connections in production companies, the researchers from Klagenfurt (Austria) are now using UWB (ultra-wideband), a technology that is already relatively old but has recently experienced a new upswing. Project leader Andreas Kercek explains the advantages: “UWB can transfer large amounts of data due to its physical properties. The signals do not interfere with each other and there is little external interference. UWB also consumes little energy and is robust against interference”.
Until now, the technology has mainly been used for position determination. Apple, for example, has integrated a UWB chip into its iPhone 11 for the first time, according to Christian Bettstetter, Professor of Mobile Systems and Scientific Director of Lakeside Labs GmbH. UWB technology has also recently been used in keyless entry systems in the automotive industry: Because it can measure the exact distance to the key, UWB keys can no longer be tricked.
New is the use for communication purposes. If the technology can be made usable for industrial companies, many of the hurdles these companies face can be overcome. The experiments that have now been carried out and presented in the journal IEEE Access have been able to show that data transmission in a network with several sensors and radio interfaces works safely. The tests were carried out in a real industrial environment.
The project was supported by various governmental institutions in Austria. Project partners were the companies Messfeld and Dewesoft as well as the research institutes Joanneum Research Digital and the University of Applied Sciences Campus 02 (Graz, Austria).
The next step is now planned to convert the findings into a marketable product.
More information: https://doi.org/10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2976846
University of Klagenfurt: https://www.aau.at/en/
Lakeside Labs: https://www.lakeside-labs.com/