Softing Releases smartLink HW-DP for Interfacing PROFIBUS and HART Networks

February 12, 2021 by Seth Price

Softing released the smartLink HW-DP module for securely moving data from existing industrial systems onto PROFIBUS DP and HART networks for processing.

This system is controller independent, so instead of investing in lots of new hardware that can speak the languages and protocols of Industry 4.0, the new smartLink modules integrate.


Softing Industrial Automation 

Interoperable communication between industrial and manufacturing equipment is Softing Industrial Automation’s specialty. 


The new smartLink HW-DP. Image courtesy of Softing Industrial Automation.


They provide interfaces, gateways, and associated software for linking machines to Fieldbus, industrial ethernet, and other such systems. They also secure and error-check the data transferred to ensure safe, reliable control, maintenance, and record-keeping, minimizing machine downtime. 


smartLink HW-DP Interfacing

One of the real benefits to the smartLink HW-DP is its ability to communicate with standardized interfaces, such as the HART-IP. This opens up the possibility of interfacing with several HART clients, such as Emerson’s Asset Management System (AMS) Device Manager and DevComDroid, an Android interface. 

Emerson AMS Device Manager is a system for monitoring smart device health. AMS can alert plant technicians, engineers, and managers with the facility’s status or maintenance needs.

Instead of waiting for a bearing to overheat and fail, looking for oil leaks, or scheduling preventative maintenance on a regular schedule, a smart module can detect oil levels or a temperature increase and notify plant personnel immediately.

Emerson’s AMS Device Manager will work on several platforms, including smartphones and tablets.

As an example of this complete system, suppose there is an industrial plant with multiple Programmable Logic Controllers, field devices, and perhaps even a few field devices controlled remotely by a separate remote control station.

In the past, an integrated solution may mean upgrading hardware on all of these devices so that they can communicate. 

Instead, the smartLink module can communicate with all of them over the PROFIBUS DP platform, then communicate with the control room, engineer’s laptop, or Android tablet or smartphone through HART-IP.


smartLink HW-DP in a control system block diagram. Image courtesy of Softing Industrial Automation.


In this same example, suppose there is a tool for cutting the flashing off an injection molded part. Over time, the saw blade used to remove the flashing becomes dull and must be replaced. Before integrated systems, the technicians were left with a few options. 

They can wait until the saw blade breaks, wait until the quality control department complains, or change the blade on a schedule, perhaps disposing of sawblades that still had plenty of life left in them. With an integrated system, a sensor can measure the current draw of the saw or the blade’s temperature to determine if it is getting dull. 

As these parameters cross some threshold value, the technicians and engineers can decide whether to change the blade now or wait until the next preventive maintenance shutdown. 


PROFIBUS and HART Interfacing Outcomes 

With smartLink HW-DP, these sensors and controllers can all communicate to send and archive this data as an integrated system, rather than viewing data from many different systems and formats.

The Softing smartLink HW-DP provides single-point access to the data collected from a vast array of systems that connect to a PROFIBUS network.

It allows secure access to various devices for smoother control, maintenance, and troubleshooting of plant logistics.