Drives and Controls Magazine

Fault-finding software slashes downtime

01 June, 2003

Fault-finding software slashes downtime

Phoenix Contact has developed a software-based system for pinpointing and diagnosing faults on industrial installations which, it claims, will cut downtime dramatically. The system, called DiagNet, detects faults, and provides detailed information about the probable causes, and the actions needed to rectify the problem. It can even provide users with on-screen photos and circuit diagrams of the affected components.

DiagNet is designed to work with equipment on an Interbus network and exploits the unique properties of this bus system to identify the faulty components. It is based on a collection of software packages such as ePlan, which displays the wiring diagrams, and Acrobat Reader, which shows the appropriate datasheets. It is designed to be used by machine operators as well as maintenance staff.

In addition to diagnosing faults and providing guidance on how to correct them, the package maintains a detailed fault history log. This can be used to identify failure-prone areas and can help to plan maintenance schedules and modifications.

DiagNet installations can be accessed via the Internet allowing problems at unstaffed sites, such as pumping stations, to be diagnosed remotely.

John Hobson, a key account manger with Phoenix, describes DiagNet as "the last part in the data chain - maintaining the control system". He says that Phoenix is charging an "embarrassingly low" price for the package because it makes its money from hardware rather than software.