Maintenance of the physical network infrastructure is important to help ensure accurate, efficient data transmission throughout a manufacturing facility and allow for quick identification and resolution of connectivity issues. Improperly maintained infrastructure can contribute to network problems such as interference, and can increase maintenance costs as well as downtime as poorly documented and/or obsolete cables require more time to troubleshoot when something does go wrong.  Grantek has the expertise to troubleshoot problems with physical network infrastructure and implement corrective action to help solve network problems and improve performance and productivity.

Proper maintenance of the physical network infrastructure makes a difference in data transmission. Improper cable routing, improper bend radius, improper service lengths and cable separation between data cables and power cables, and ungrommeted pass-throughs can cause problems that must be corrected, such as damaged cables, inadequate grounding, and EMI. Grantek can evaluate a manufacturing facility’s cabling and make recommendations for upgrading cable media, pathways and enclosures to ensure accurate transmission of data from end to end. Typically, recommendations are based upon ANSI/TIA-1005-A (Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Industrial Premises) and TIA-568-C.0-3 Cabling Standards.

We also look at grounding and bonding for compliance with US (NFPA 70 Section 250) or Canadian (2012 Part 1 22nd Edition; section 10) Electrical Codes and NFPA 70 Section 800 for basic safety protections, TIA 607-B (Telecommunications Bonding and Grounding for Customer Premises) and IEEE 1100 (Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding of Electronic Equipment). We can perform a grounding study that uncovers weaknesses in the current implementation and we can provide remediation steps for future faster through-put for increasingly sensitive applications.

As manufacturing enterprises connect more production lines with the company’s enterprise business system, network infrastructure becomes more important. As companies adopt the IIoT, the versatility of Wi-Fi becomes more important. Consideration of Wi-Fi coverage needs is essential to avoid dead zones, interference between systems and provide adequate coverage for wireless sensors and devices installed in plant premises. Grantek has the expertise to conduct an RF site audit to ensure Wi-Fi coverage leveraging 2.4/5GHz, 900MHz and other industry bands.

Many facilities have unused cables in the cable trays. These make maintenance and routing of new cables more difficult. Facilities often do not properly or consistently label cables or connectors, or keep system interconnect wiring diagrams up to date, which makes maintenance more difficult than necessary. Improper cable dressing can lead to cable damage and/or degraded performance, and can contribute to signal interference.

In addition to proper cabling, proper physical infrastructure also includes sufficient space in electrical cabinets, correct wire and cable labeling, and securing cables to supports adequately. Meticulous maintenance of the physical infrastructure simplifies troubleshooting. The physical network becomes more important as vision systems are installed and bandwidth needs increase, for example: if network equipment is not properly grounded, momentary outages may occur as a result of other equipment in the plant switching on or off. Equipment with large current draws may meet the overcurrent protection specifications, but may still affect reliability of data transfer for other systems operating on the network.

Grantek helps our clients improve maintainability by helping make network infrastructure more efficient and easier to maintain. We work with certified electrical contractors to ensure that network wiring is installed and grounded properly. Grantek knows that maintaining and upgrading the physical network infrastructure to current standards is well worth the effort in terms of improved reliability and reduced maintenance costs.