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Industrial Automation: Interfacing CWS weather stations

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Industrial Automation Weather Station

Columbia Weather Systems has developed interfaces for our weather stations to be used directly with common industrial automation systems such as SCADA, DCS, and PLC systems. These systems are used in industrial manufacturing, as well as government facility and infrastructure operations and maintenance.

SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) is a type of computer-controlled system that monitors and controls industrial processes, typically large-scale processes that can include multiple sites, and large distances.1

A DCS (distributed control system) refers to a control system usually of a manufacturing system, process or any kind of dynamic system, in which the controller elements are not central in location (like the brain) but are distributed throughout the system with each component sub-system controlled by one or more controllers. The system of controllers is connected by networks for communication and monitoring.2

A PLC (programmable logic controller) is a digital computer used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines. Unlike general-purpose computers, the PLC is designed for multiple inputs and output arrangements, extended temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise, and resistance to vibration and impact.3

To interface with these systems, CWS has two main options:

1) Weather MicroServer

The Weather MicroServer (shown above with the Orion) offers Modbus interface for all CWS stations with both 32- and 16-bit registers. (Click here for the point list.)

The MicroServer can be configured for either Modbus TCP/IP (Ethernet) or Modbus RTU (RS-485 Serial) communication. The Weather MicroServer offers additional features including additional sensors and monitoring options such as the Weather Display.

Weather Station System Diagram for Modbus TCP/IP Interface

System Diagram for Modbus TCP/IP Interface

Weather Station System Diagram for Modbus RTU Interface

System Diagram for Modbus RTU Interface

2) 4-20 mA Signal Interface

PLC systems often require 4-20 mA Signal Interface which is available with the Orion 420, Magellan 420, and Capricorn FLX 420 Weather Stations. The weather sensor module connects to a weatherproof enclosure containing converter modules. Customer supplied 4-20 mA signal cables connect the weatherproof enclosure (screw terminal blocks) to the PLC device. Please note System Diagram below. Users monitor weather data on their PLC plant software such as Wonderware®. Additional monitoring options such as Weather Display, MicroServer, and WeatherMaster Software can be used via an optional RS-232 cable to the weatherproof enclosure.

4-20 mA Weather Station Diagram

System Diagram for 4-20 mA Signal Interface System

Weather Station Enclosure

Weatherproof Enclosure with converter modules

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For more information click: Industrial Weather Stations

1Boys, Walt (18 August 2009). “Back to Basics: SCADA.” Automation TV: Control Global - Control Design.
2“Distributed control system.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Date last updated (13 January 2014). Web. Date accessed (16 January 2014). “
3“Programmable logic controller.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc., Date last updated (16 January 2014). Web. Date accessed (16 January 2014).


by Columbia Weather Systems

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