Power line communication systems for industrial control applications

Morris, Kerry John (2002). Power line communication systems for industrial control applications. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e357


For almost as long as the electricity distribution industry itself has existed, so also has the idea of utilising the transmission grid, be it over a wide area or on a local basis, for the transmission of 'intelligence'. This might be in the form of voice transmissions, or for the purposes of monitoring or controlling electrical devices attached to the network.

This thesis specifically concerns itself with the potential applications of power-line-carrier (PLC) communications technology within the field of industrial plant/equipment control, as it is within this field that the author works.

We look at the entire subject area of industrial control, starting from a historical viewpoint, and consider the special needs and requirements that a proposed PLC solution must offer for this application, especially based on the noise conditions likely to be experienced on a `real' power line.

A proposal is made for a `Power Bus', intended for use within certain areas of industrial control, and decisions are made based on the projected link response times for such applications.

The experimental phase of the research is practical in nature and consists of a raft of tests and evaluations of the performance of power line modem technologies, under controlled and repeatable noise conditions. To complement these results, further tests are carried out under `real world' conditions, within an actual factory environment. Based on the results of all of these tests, the suitability of a PLC solution for this type of industrial control application is considered.

The Thesis concludes with a look at recent developments in, as well as the future of, Power Line Communication techniques.

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