Banner Engineering is an industrial equipment specialist founded by Bob Fayfield in 1966 that solved common industrial problems.

Banner Engineering produces various products, including sensors and vision systems, LED lights, indicators, wireless systems, and safety systems. Many companies use Banner’s products, including those in the Fortune 500 and those just starting out.

 

Safety Devices in Industry

When it comes to industrial environments, safety is an essential factor to consider. Designing a reliable safety system can be a challenge. Once a process has been designed and built, such as a robotic arm station or a conveyor controller, safety devices need to be incorporated.

All safety systems must be readable. All safety devices, such as E-STOP buttons, connect individually to a PLC. This cable topology can make installation more complex and increases the probability that a safety device is left unconnected. 

Another cable arrangement is to connect safety devices in series. However, this comes with the increased probability that a device in the chain fails and triggers false warnings. Safety devices connected in series can also lead to the possibility of an unconnected device as an unconnected device is not recognized.

 

Banner Engineering In-Series Diagnostics

Banner Engineering developed a proprietary system called In-Series Diagnostics (ISD for short). ISD is a safety and sensor diagnostic protocol that connects safety devices in a daisy chain. ISD supports up to 32 devices in series and operates similarly to programmable LEDs that pass messages down the chain (i.e., a message-passing 10 devices will have an ID of 10).

 

 

The messages sent by ISD devices contain both key information and metadata that can be useful for diagnostics, including the state of the safety device, the internal temperature, and voltage. ISD devices can provide health monitoring to allow engineers to plan downtime to replace potentially failing hardware.

 

Banner Engineering Introduces ISD Connect

While ISD provides engineers with a safety and diagnostic system, the proprietary nature of the bus means that only Banner Engineering can provide hardware solutions. Furthermore, the requirement of using Banner Engineering only equipment can put off engineers from installing ISD into older industrial setups as most safety hardware would require replacement.

As a result, Banner Engineering has introduced its latest product, the ISD Connect

 

Banner’s T-connector brings a non-ISD enabled device into an ISD system. Image courtesy of Banner Engineering

 

The ISD Connect is a bridge that allows the connection of most safety switches and sensors to an ISD chain. This allows older systems or those that cannot upgrade to work with the ISD system. 

This device has three connection ports, one which connects to the non-ISD device, and two which provide the daisy chain connection. All ISD devices, including the ISD Connect, utilize 4-pin plugs with polarity (i.e., one end is female, the other is male) and have a fixing screw to prevent accidental disconnect.

The connector device works with a wide range of typical safety systems, including switches, E-STOPs, and mechanical interlocks. Applications targeted by the ISD Connect include assembly stations, conveyor lines, packing machines, pharmaceuticals, test equipment, and semiconductor production.

ISD demonstrates an increasing trend of making sensors intelligent as well as the use of advanced messaging protocols. Instead of having sensors that send analog information, integrating microcontrollers into sensors allows for adaptive features. These features can provide additional information and help to isolate data processors from raw sensor values.