Processing Magazine

Flexible system provides remote monitoring, requires no specialized software

December 8, 2008

The new LinkBus Remote Instrument Monitoring System (LinkBus RIMS) from AMETEK Process Instruments provides users of AMETEK process analyzers and instruments with 24/7 access through their PC web browser or FieldBus™, ModBus™ protocol-based distributed control system (DCS). The LinkBus RIMS hardware/software platform provides users of AMETEK analyzers with a standard analyzer/computer/database connection and a variety of service packages. The platform provides Internet and Ethernet communications capability as well as bi-directional DCS communications using FieldBus™, ModBus™ communications protocols. Its real-time operating system has the option of incorporating OPC or XML client server capability. The LinkBus RIMS collects and reports process trends and analyzer response time information in addition to all sensor data and functions currently provided by Thermox®Series 2000 and IQ analyzers, the Western Research® 880/Series 4000 photometric analyzers and 5000 Series moisture analyzers. Fault alarms can be issued automatically by email to any location worldwide. The LinkBus is either offered as a stand alone or with one of the following three levels of AMETEK service: onsite monitoring, onsite monitoring with third party notification, or web enabled service.The LinkBus RIMS unit is installed at the user’s site and connected to each of the analyzers. It communicates via RS-485 with the controller-based analyzers and provides Web enabled user-interface for up to 16 analyzers. A two conductor, shielded, twisted pair cable runs from the gateway to the analyzers in a chain configuration. The LinkBus is usually connected to an Ethernet LAN (10/100 Base-T auto sensing). The LinkBus unit acts as an HTTP server and supports TCP-IP, FTP and POP3 email. Users may access the gateway using any generic browser. By browsing to the assigned (user configurable) IP address, and correctly completing a login page, the analyzer setup page is displayed. Login and user account features controls the levels of access to the analyzer features and data. Passwords are assigned to different access levels: administration, maintenance, IT and operations. Up to 10 people can be connected to the gateway simultaneously, but if changes are being made to any page it will be locked out to the others. A single set of alarm contacts also is provided for a combination watchdog/alarm signal. In the event of process or trouble alarms, the LinkBus RIMS sends an email to selected addresses contained in the memory of each LinkBus unit. LINKBus RIMS draws on AMETEK’s more than 30 years of experience in the design and development of sophisticated process analyzers. Its modular design turns trouble-shooting and repair into simple tasks that can be performed on site in minutes by plant personnel.