Upgrade to Industry 4.0

Thu October 7, 2021

Signalfire Ranger wireless telemetry

Application: Bringing the last age of digital sensors into the cloud age.

The next generation is always waiting in the wings. Every power plant, chemical site, storage tank field, or manufacturer has equipment that was installed in the past 30-40 years. These sensors that measure everything under the sun from pressure or temperature to vibration and gas concentration. A vast majority of these sensors report these measurements using an electrical signal of either 4-20mA or a scaled voltage such as 1-5V. Some later instruments utilize digital communication protocols such as Modbus or HART where multiple parameters can be transmitted with just a couple wires. Really great technologies that have paved the bedrock of the modern plant.  All these advances are what form the basis of what is called Industry 3.0. But it’s time to upgrade!

Ranger wiring

What’s Next: Defining Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a buzzword term that itself is described with industry buzzwords and alphabet soup such as IIoT, CPS, DA, and AI. In short Industry 4.0 is the idea of bringing plant-based physical world data into the digital world for cloud computing technologies such as artificial intelligence to perform predictive maintenance calculations. It involves four guiding principles of Interconnection, Information transparency, technical assistance (AI), and decentralized decisions. The idea is that the physical instrumentation forms an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) where the sensors share an informational network for exchanging and gathering data. This data is then fed into a cloud-based database for artificial intelligence to perform cognitive computing strategies to predict upcoming maintenance before failures cause plant downtime and lost production.  

Challenges: Making the upgrade to Industry 4.0

Manufacturers and producers have a massive fleet of smart sensors deployed throughout their facilities. Replacing all these Industry 3.0 sensors with Industry 4.0 equipment is not economically feasible. What is required is a way to bring the existing instrumentation systems into the new paradigm.  Further challenges can be factors such as hazardous area classification or lack of additional power in some locations.

Ranger Signal Fire

Solution: The Ranger to the rescue

One possible solution to bring the older instrumentation into the Industry 4.0 world is a sensor-to-cloud product such as the Ranger from Signal-Fire. The Ranger is a cellular device using LTE CAT M1 technology to provide a link from the existing signals in the field and the cloud for remote monitoring from any web browser. The Ranger comes with multiple power options including an internal battery pack or external solar panel.  The Ranger comes in a variety of model number choices, but the standard model is equipped with two digital inputs and a selectable analog input (4-20mA or 1-5V). Alternatively, models that offer a HART or Modbus connection are available. The Ranger is designed for rough environmental conditions with a temperature spec from -40F to 185C and it is certified for Class 1 Division 2 areas. Utilizing a growing technology called MQTT Sparkplug B the Ranger publishes the legacy process data to a MQTT broker. Signal-Fire offers a cloud data management service powered by AWS or the Ranger can be configured to communicate to an existing MQTT broker on the plant’s existing cloud services network.

Dave Larson
Application Engineer at JMI Instrument Company

Try the Ranger signalfire wireless telemetry


Have you been curious about trying IoT Sensor-to-Cloud technology but unsure where to start? Now is the perfect time to try out the RANGER from SignalFire with no risk!  Instantly bring your analog and digital inputs directly to the Cloud for visualization and alarming.

For a limited time, buy one RANGER for 50% off list, try for 60 days, and if not satisfied, return it for full refund. We will even pay the return shipping.

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