New Module Gives Equipment Makers a ‘Universal Translator’ for Industrial Communications

Real Time Automation

DETROIT, Mich. – June 7, 2022 – At Automate 2022, Grid Connect, Inc. and Real Time Automation® (RTA®) have partnered to bring original equipment makers a new embedded module that serves as a universal translator for enabling serial devices (RS-232, 422, 485, SPI, I2C) to communicate via protocols such as EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFINET, BACnet/IP and others. OEMs also gain the capability to push data from plant-floor and field devices to analytical and business applications via OPC UA and MQTT.New Module Gives Equipment Makers a ‘Universal Translator’ for Industrial Communications

“Imagine an OEM that makes a micro-controlled actuator limited to serial ports, but its customers have standardized on PROFINET,” said Rick Rockershousen, vice president at Grid Connect. “Until now, the customer either couldn’t use the OEM’s actuator or the OEM had to spend time and money with an R&D team developing a PROFINET capability for the device. Now, OEMs can integrate our module into their device to provide the communication protocol to match the customer’s automation system.”

“Manufacturers know the automation device market is segmented. Access to the market’s different channels requires specific communications technologies,” said Drew Baryenbruch, president of RTA. “The cost of implementing and supporting all these technologies has historically been out of reach for many equipment manufacturers.”

To develop the highly integrated, compact module (33mm x 23mm x 3mm), ?the companies combined ?RTA's? protocol stacks with Grid Connect’s know-how of hardware and IIoT. The companies will market the module separately as Grid Connect’s GRID32 and RTConnect from RTA. The module offers device makers a quick-to-market, affordable and simple solution for adding a full array of industrial protocols to any new or legacy device a manufacturer uses. If an OEM’s device is interacting with the factory in, say, Modbus, the module enables the equipment maker’s device to communicate in a next-gen protocol like PROFINET. The array of protocols is no longer out of reach for device makers that may be manufacturing a lower volume of new products or facing prohibitively high costs for converting legacy products.

With the module, a device also has the option to communicate via protocols for cloud applications, so the device maker can analyze data about the device from beyond a factory’s walls. That said, the wireless protocol would not control a device in a closed loop application. The ability to communicate wirelessly via the MQTT or OPC UA protocol simply enables the device maker or owner to collect data in the cloud.

“Embedding the module into a device is a way to future proof it, too; OEMs don’t have to put a new board into their device to collect data wirelessly when they’re ready to take that step,” Rockershousen said.

About Real Time Automation, Inc.
Established in 1989, Real Time Automation, Inc., is based in Wisconsin and specializes in making easy-to-use connectivity products, source code protocol stacks and OEM solutions for use by control engineers on factory floors everywhere.  You can visit us today at Automate in Booth #409. Learn more: www.rtautomation.com or 800-249-1612.

About Grid Connect, Inc.

Naperville, Ill.-based Grid Connect, Inc. is an ISO 9001:2015 company and has been a leader in the embedded and networking marketplace for more than 20 years. Grid Connect’s products range from custom OEM smart devices and security controllers to bridges, switches, and diagnostics tools. Along with the products Grid Connect makes, the company also distributes and supports complementary products from other high-quality technology makers. Learn more at www.gridconnect.com.


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