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SwiftComm® Real-Time Wireless Encoder Interface

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Swiiftcomm Wireless encoder from BEI

Swiftcomm encoder transmitter receiver through BEI Sensors

 

BEI Sensors SwiftComm was designed from the ground up to meet the wireless demands of industrial motion control applications. It provides an extremely robust wireless signal in real time over a secure network.

SwiftComm uses a point-to-point frequency-hopping 2.4 GHz RF protocol and will interface directly with any incremental or SSI absolute encoder. Simply connect the SwiftComm transmitter to the encoder and the SwiftComm receiver to your control system and apply power. That’s it! No complicated cabling required.

FCC licensed in US and Canada only
United States FCC iD: VSR-SWIFTCOMM11
Canadian IC: 7445A-SWIFTCOMM11

Data Sheets

PDF For Incremental Encoders, PDF For SSI Absolute Encoders,
PDF SwiftComm Brochure (PDF - 1.76MB)

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What are the advantages of SwiftComm?

Real Time Wireless Control

It is critical in any motion control applications to have minimum lag time in signal transmission. Delays in data to the controller can cause major problems. SwiftComm is one of the fastest digital wireless sensor interfaces available. Data is relayed between the transmitter and receiver every 600 microseconds (µs). Because SwiftComm is a point-to-point configuration, there is no inherent latency.

Robust Wireless Signal

BEI's SwiftComm wireless encoder interface operates on the 2.4 GHz ISM radio band and uses Adaptive Frequency Hopping Protocol (AFH). This helps avoid data interruptions due to frequency interference. If a particular radio band encounters interference, SwiftComm seamlessly hops to another open band. This technology decreases the susceptibility to interference thereby increasing overall reliability.

The SwiftComm hopping algorithm uses 75 ISM channels in a pseudo-random sequence. To enhance RF link reliability even more, when SwiftComm detects interference on a channel, that channel is dropped from the hop sequence and SwiftComm will avoid using that channel in the future. If the available channels list ever becomes exhausted, previous dropped channels are retested to see if they are clear.

SwiftComm's patent pending technology can even overcome data loss due to link interruption. Internally and transparent to the user, SwiftComm keeps track of the encoder’s output signal. If SwiftComm encounters packet loss from temporary link interruption, it fills in the encoder’s output information based on the historical data trend. It then processes this information in place of the lost packet. When a valid packet of information is received, SwiftComm determines any accumulated error and sends any corrections to the controller. So even in environments where occasional packets are lost, SwiftComm will transmit a seamless stream of data to the control system.

Secure Wireless Transmission

SwiftComm provides a very secure system for your data to travel wirelessly. The transmitter and receiver each have a 40-bit hard coded security code. These codes are programmed at the factory and give the system a range of over 500 billion possible unique codes. BEI has developed its own proprietary protocol for SwiftComm, which is not available to the public. Additionally, the data is transmitted with a high-level encryption algorithm and pseudo-random frequency hopping. This provides additional levels of data security to assure that your data is protected.

Long Range

Because motion control applications can vary widely, SwiftComm was designed with a 50 mW radio. This provides SwiftComm with reliable long-range communication. In most open situations, a reliable link distance of up to 1,000 feet is possible. Inside buildings, a reliable link distance is more on the order of 300 feet.

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Application Examples

General Usage

SwiftComm is suitable for use in a wide variety of industrial applications. However there are a few conditions where the user will receive the most benefit from SwiftComm.

In applications where long, expensive cable lengths are needed, a SwiftComm wireless encoder interface can provide a very cost effective alternative to hard wiring. If cabling of any length is damaged often in your system and needs constant replacement, SwiftComm can also be a viable solution.

Finally, SwiftComm is ideal for use in applications with a clear line-of-sight between the encoder and control system. This line-of-sight allows the SwiftComm Transmitter and Receiver to have a clear path to communicate with each other. Although SwiftComm can work around some obstructions, the best performance will be achieved where the radios have a clear line-of-sight.

Factory Automation

Factory automation applications can present numerous challenges. A saw mill application for example, is typically an electrically noisy environment from sources such as variable speed drives. It can also be a very dusty, dirty and wet environment. Encoder cables that are connected to the control system are susceptible to damage from dropped wood pieces or blades, or can be covered up with saw dust and simply stepped on. Continual cable replacement and the resulting system downtime can be very costly.

SwiftComm has several unique features that make it the ideal wireless encoder solution for these types of challenging applications. Encased in NEMA 4 enclosures, the SwiftComm transmitter and receiver are protected from environmental dirt, dust, moisture or debris.

SwiftComm has also been designed to work in electrically noisy environments. It operates on the 2.4 GHz ISM radio band and uses Adaptive Frequency Hopping Protocol (AFH). This helps avoid data interruptions due to frequency interference. If a particular radio band encounters interference (such as from variable speed drives), SwiftComm seamlessly hops to another open band. This technology decreases the susceptibility to interference, increasing overall reliability.

SwiftComm's patent-pending technology can overcome intermittent data loss due to link interruption. Internally and transparent to the user, SwiftComm keeps track of the encoder’s output signal. If SwiftComm encounters packet loss from temporary link interruption, it fills in the encoder’s output information based on the historical data trend. It then processes this information in place of the lost packet. When a valid packet of information is received, SwiftComm determines any accumulated error and sends corrections to the controller. So even in environments where occasional packets are lost, SwiftComm will transmit a seamless stream of data to the control system.

Crane and Hoist

These motion control applications can be a cabling challenge due to the mobile components of the crane and hoist. Cables need to be run from the encoder, typically on the moving assembly, back down to the motor controller. Installation of encoder cable assemblies can be very expensive and the continuous movement of the crane and hoist can eventually wear them out. Space may also be tight or not available to add another cable to the assembly.

SwiftComm can quickly and simply eliminate these cabling problems on mobile applications. The transmitter is connected to the encoder and the receiver is installed down with the motor controller. No need to worry about expensive cables to install or maintain.

SwiftComm will also provide a reliable wireless encoder signal so the controller can maintain smooth movement for the crane and hoist. A continuous stream of data is achieved through use of adaptive frequency hopping to avoid signal interruptions and patent pending technology to overcome any potential data loss.

Printing

A slitter rewinder machine, which unwinds large rolls and cuts and rewinds them into smaller sections, is a critical component in a paper converting application. Multiple controls and motors need to accurately control tension and speed of the entire process. Any inaccuracies in the motion control system can cause offsets, uneven edges and sheets to tear. Encoders on these machines relay speed and position information from the motors to the control system. Cables connecting the encoders to the control system are susceptible to damage and can be extremely costly to replace and maintain.

SwiftComm is an ideal replacement to hard wiring encoders. Simply connect the encoder to the SwiftComm transmitter and connect the SwiftComm receiver to the control system. Data is relayed wirelessly between the transmitter and receiver every 600 microseconds (µs), so the control system will receive a continuous stream of data with minimal latency.

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Frequently Asked Questions

"I need a continuous, reliable encoder signal. What happens if the wireless signal is interrupted and loses packets of data?"

SwiftComm was designed specifically for critical motion control applications. Its use of an Adaptive Frequency Hopping Protocol (AFH) helps avoid data interruptions due to frequency interference. If a particular radio band encounters interference, SwiftComm seamlessly hops to another open band. This technology decreases the susceptibility to interference, increasing overall reliability.

Of course in the real world, signal interference cannot be avoided in all cases. Because of this, SwiftComm uses patent pending technology that can overcome data loss due to link interruption. Internally and transparent to the user, SwiftComm keeps track of the encoder’s output signal. If SwiftComm encounters packet loss from temporary link interruption, it fills in the encoder’s output information based on the historical data trend. It then processes this information in place of the lost packet. When a valid packet of information is received, SwiftComm determines any accumulated error and sends corrections to the controller. So even in environments where occasional packets are lost, SwiftComm will transmit a seamless stream of data to the control system.

"I'm concerned with the security of my data being transmitted wirelessly. Will SwiftComm protect my data?"

Yes. SwiftComm provides a very secure system for your data to travel wirelessly. The transmitter and receiver each have a 40-bit hard coded security code. These codes are programmed at the factory and give the system a range of over 500 billion possible unique codes. BEI has developed its own proprietary protocol for SwiftComm, which is not available to the public. Additionally, the data is transmitted with a high-level encryption algorithm and random frequency hopping. This provides additional levels of data security to assure that your data is protected.

"I have an application using a high-speed encoder. What kind of latency will I experience with SwiftComm?"

It is critical in any motion control applications to have minimum lag time in signal transmission. Delays in data to the controller can cause major problems. SwiftComm is one of the fastest wireless sensor interfaces available. Data is relayed between the transmitter and receiver every 600 microseconds (µs). Because SwiftComm is a point-to-point configuration, there is little inherent latency.

"I have an outdoor application and my encoder cables continually need replacement due their exposure to this harsh environment. Is SwiftComm an option for me?"

Absolutely. The SwiftComm transmitter and receiver are both encased in NEMA 4 cast aluminum enclosures. They are also powder coated with a gasketed closure. This gives them excellent protection from windblown dust and rain, splashing water and the formation of ice on the enclosures.

" What is the maximum distance I can transmit my encoder data wirelessly with SwiftComm?"

Like all wireless systems, the maximum transmission distance depends on the environment where the transmitter and receiver are being installed. On a factory floor, where there is high electrical noise and metal obstructions, we typically see reliable communications up to 300 feet. Outdoors, with line-of-sight and relatively few sources of interference, this increases to over 1,000 feet.

"Can multiple SwiftComm pairs operate in the same area without interfering with each other?"

Yes. Each pair shares a unique security code which ensures they will not interfere with other SwiftComm pairs in the area. These codes are programmed at the factory and give the system a range of over 500 billion possible unique codes. Additionally, SwiftComm utilizes Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) protocol. If a radio band is being used by one SwiftComm pair, the other SwiftComm pair seamlessly hops to another open band. This helps avoid data interruptions due to frequency interference.

"What type of encoder can SwiftComm interface with?"

SwiftComm can interface with any BEI or non-BEI quadrature incremental encoder.

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