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Communication Levels in automation

Industry has placed many demands on modern automation systems, requiring also that the necessary functions be offered at a good price/performance ratio. The AS-Interface system meets this requirement not only through its modular expandability.

The objective in its creation was not a universal field bus for all areas of automation, but rather an economically reasonable system for the lower field level. The AS-Interface was developed in order to network binary sensors and actuators to the higher control level. Important objectives included simple and cost-effective assembly with low wiring costs.

The interface is an enduring part of the modern industrial landscape. Many sensors and actuators can be networked through the 2-wire cable, which also supplies the power. By eliminating the cable trees of traditional cabling and replacing them with the yellow AS-Interface cable, significant cost reductions through simple wiring without a lot of training are the result.

Thanks to its simple, defined electromechanical interface the AS-Interface can be installed without the need for any special expertise. The "Snap and Go" cable penetration system has proven itself. The freely selectable network topology and ease of configuration make installation that much easier. Ease of assembly requiring little prior knowledge reduces downtime when faults occur.

The fault susceptibility of other systems often results in assembly delays, so the AS-Interface was consciously designed to reduce error sources. The special profile of the AS-Interface cable prevents reversal of the poles when connecting devices, and is just one example of the measures taken to reduce error frequency. Installation, a large cost factor, is drastically reduced by using the system. The low installation costs show the AS-Interface to be a technically and economically realistic solution to the normal fieldbus.

The AS-Interface, which is more an intelligent form of cabling than a true fieldbus, neither can nor intends to replace complex networks. But on the lower level of industrial communication, the Sensor/Actuator Level, the system stands out with its simple and cost-effective solutions. Modern studies even verify the economical advantage to integrating the AS-Interface with switches and buttons on control panels. The low added cost of the AS-Interface Slave Chip are made up for by the reduced wiring expense. For quite some time already there have been gateways, links or other bus couplers for all the usual fieldbus systems (e.g. CAN, DeviceNet, Ethernet, Interbus, Profibus and others). The high capability for integrating into other networks makes the modular construction of automation networks just that much easier. Cost-effective, rugged AS-Interface components are especially suited for use in harsh industrial environments.

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