Xtending Your Possibilities - The New INTRON-X System
The following interview with Christine Segler, Director of Products, and Roland Leuthe, Head of Development Systems Software / INTRON-X Project Manager, gives an insight into the development of our new INTRON-X system.
Can you briefly describe the process behind the development of a new system?
Development of a completely new system generation takes several years from the first idea to the series production. First there is a vision. Based on this, together with product management and sales we collect customer and market requirements for a requirement specification. One of the main goals is to achieve a significant innovation compared to the current system generation as well as add value for the customer through new possibilities and additional functions.
The individual requirements and ideas are then evaluated in terms of feasibility and cost-benefit ratio. The result is a consolidated requirements list. Together with a basic concept defined at the same time, these two documents form the basis for the decision of the Management to proceed with the development. This step is followed by the parallel development of the hardware and software of the individual components and the realization of several prototypes, the pilot series and finally the series production.
During the development of a new system, we often have to master technical challenges, which can also lead to delays in the original schedule. Covid 19 presented us with additional challenges during the development of the INTRON-X as electronic components became difficult to obtain.
When you think of the INTRON-X which 3 characteristics would you choose to describe the system?
Our new IP-based system is very flexible, modular and extremely reliable.
What are the main benefits of the new INTRON-X system?
The INTRON-X system is future-proof and based on the latest IP technology. It excels with its modular design and flexibility enabling easy scalability, from small up to large networked systems.
Another great advantage of our system is the high adaptability to local facilities and requirements, whether through a distributed, completely decentralized installation of individual components or integration of the INTRON-X into an existing IT infrastructure. This is possible as all components of the INTRON-X communicate with each other exclusively via network. Of course, we have also paid special attention to IT security, a topic which is becoming more and more important.
Our system is highly reliable through flexible redundancy concepts which can be tailored to individual budgets and customer demands. For example, all INTRON-X modules provide at least 2 network interfaces enabling the setup of fully redundant network topologies.
What are the components of the INTRON-X system?
The core element of the INTRON-X system is the intelligent processor unit, the X-Controller (XCO). It controls all other components of the system. You can network up to 250 controllers for large systems. Furthermore, the INTRON-X provides interface modules for different types of applications, e.g. connection of digital and analog terminal devices or third-party systems, I/Os, and control of flashing warning beacons.
What all INTRON-X modules have in common is their compact, modular design with the same form factor. You can place 3 modules into a 19" chassis, with one rack unit.
Pre-assembled cables and suitable terminal blocks enable easy installation of the individual modules. These can be installed in a decentralized way throughout the plant and linked to each other via network or installed in a central INDUSTRONIC cabinet. Of course, you can also use already available IT cabinets here.
You can connect our renowned INDUSTRONIC terminal devices with different technologies, i.e. IP, digital and analog as well a SIP-based terminal devices to the INTRON-X system.
Which external interfaces does the INTRON-X provide and which protocols are supported?
As an IP-based system, the INTRON-X primarily provides network interfaces for the interconnection of external communication and control systems. The X-Controller has 4 network interfaces for example. Typical applications here are e.g. the interconnection of telephone systems (PABX), radio systems, F&G systems, control center systems, management systems, etc. Therefore, a variety of protocols is supported e.g. SIP, SNMP, HTTPs, Modbus TCP, CANopen, etc.
Which possibilities do customers have to manage the system?
You can easily and securely log in to the system via a standard web or the INTRON-X Service Tool (XST). Here you have all maintenance functions right at your fingertips. You can e.g. upload software updates or conveniently distribute a configuration file throughout the system from a single point. Furthermore, the complete system status is displayed here in real time thanks to the integrated permanent monitoring of all system components.
Prepared for the future, we are currently working on the development of our own management system for the INTRON-X. In addition, it is already possible to connect to an umbrella management system via SNMP.
Is the new INTRON-X system compatible with its predecessor INTRON-D plus?
The modules of the INTRON-X system can be easily integrated into existing INTRON-D plus systems with full functionality enabling seamless communication and combination of the INTRON-X and INTRON-D plus while continuing to use your existing INDUSTRONIC terminal devices.
What are typical applications of the INTRON-X?
The new system generation INTRON-X can be flexibly used as Intercom, PA/GA, PA, Wide Area Notification or as a combined system for various industrial communication requirements. We offer a wide range of applications from small systems such as "Driller's Intercom" to large systems such as multi-tier plant warning systems. In line with our slogan "One System X Solutions", there is a lot of potential for further applications.
Thanks to the robust design of the components and their durability, the system is particularly suitable for challenging industrial environments such as explosive (hazardous) areas, extreme heat and cold.
What are the advantages of INTRON-X compared to other systems on the market?
Here the motto: "Xtend your possibilities” says it all. With our configuration software Config Manager X, you can quickly and easily adapt the configuration for the entire system according to customer requirements during the design phase, but also during live operation of the system, while at the same time ensuring that the configuration created is valid and consistent. You only require one configuration file for the entire system, which contains the configuration data for all components, and which can be conveniently distributed via a browser.
The INTRON-X is a hybrid system which supports all transmission technologies, i.e. IP, digital and analog, currently used in the industry. This way, you always have the possibility to connect existing INDUSTRONIC components and third-party systems as well as continue to use available cabling infrastructure.
The system is also well-prepared for use in the context of the Industrial Internet of Things. Our DUSTRON app, which is installed on a smartphone or tablet, can be used e.g. when maintaining production facilities in order to effectively communicate within the maintenance team as a group or with the control room directly from the current location. You can also distribute live announcements via speakers in the production building.
What was the goal of the development?
Our goal was to develop a reliable, future-proof, durable, and robust system meeting current and future project and customer requirements and what’s more, being compatible with our predecessor INTRON-D plus including already deployed terminal devices.
INDUSTRONIC’s update and upgrade concepts make system expansion much easier and increase the overall lifetime of your system.
Any questions left regarding our INTRON-X system? Then, let’s get in touch.