Pepperl+Fuchs Releases Wireless Data Couplers for Stacker Cranes in Warehouse Management Systems

February 11, 2021 by Alessandro Mascellino

German automation solutions provider Pepperl+Fuchs released wireless data couplers integrated into stacker cranes for warehouse management systems.

The LS68x series wireless data couplers in the stacker cranes are designed to enable reliable transmission between the retrieval system on the warehouse floor and the warehouse management system (WMS).


A concept image showing items automatically stacked in an industrial warehouse. Image courtesy of Pepperl+Fuchs.


Thanks to their wireless capabilities, the machines feature quick and simple alignment and eliminate the need for device-to-device cabling.


Improving Industrial Floor Communications

When stacker cranes enter or exit an aisle on an industrial working site, their location, speed, and throughput must be regularly monitored and maintained. This is typically accomplished with elaborate wiring techniques leading back to the WMS, which brings about installation, time constraints, lifespan, and cable management concerns. 

To prevent these faults from occurring and causing downtime, communication between the floor operation and WMSs is crucial.

In addition to traditional cabling systems issues mentioned above, these configurations have to factor in physical limitations like bends or cable trays, potentially leading to damaged wiring. They are also susceptible to damage caused by elements like electromagnetic interference or noise. 

Through the use of data couplers, the new LS68x series eliminates this interference by removing the need for the installation of cable trays or complex modular cable carriers.


The LS68x Series Wireless Data Couplers 

Coming in two versions (LS682 and LS684, respectively), the new devices are designed to foster automated warehouse systems’ growth.


A few of Pepperl+Fuchs’ optical data couplers. Image courtesy of Pepperl+Fuchs.


The machines require an initial alignment process, after which the data is transmitted end-to-end. Not storing the data locally increases the speed at which it is sent to the specified WMS. The LS68x couplers are optical devices, and consequently, do not have moving or mechanical parts to wear out.

This translates into an improved turnaround time for synchronous, switching operations and control processes at both ends of the transmission range.

To solve any possible issues that could occur during operation, the LS68x series autonomously monitors the connection across all segments of the data transfer path, utilizing the Fieldbus' redundancy mechanisms to localize and immediately bridge faults.


Compatible with Common Industrial Communication Protocols

In addition to allowing for less complex wiring and wireless communication, the new couplers improve communication between devices and the WMS. 

The LS682 and LS684 optical data couplers aim to circumvent this issue by ensuring a constant data transmission rate of 100 MBit/s, regardless of other communication networks. Additionally, the LS68x series can transfer data up to 300m with no dead band since communication starts at 0. 

For maximum versatility, the new couplers are compatible with the most common industrial communication protocols, such as EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, EtherCAT, and Serial. Low-temperature models are also available for cold storage warehouses.

What are your thoughts about the new couplers? Let us know in the comment section down below.