Comtrol’s Fibre to Serial Converters

Oxon, United Kingdom, May 19, 2010 --( Comtrol Europe has supplied its versatile RocketLinx MC5001 Fibre to Serial converters to Pennine Control Systems with Optech Fibres as part of a system to monitor the innovative cable corrosion protection system on the Forth Road Bridge.

Nearly 100 RocketLinx MC5001 units have been installed to carry RS-485 & RS-232 data from humidity monitors and a weather station via fibre optic cables back to the controlling SCADA system.

The Forth Road Bridge is a suspension bridge 1.5 mile long which carries 24 million vehicles a year. In 2004 corrosion was discovered in the main cables of the bridge. An ingenious solution was developed to keep the cables dry by blowing low humidity air through neoprene sleeves around the cables to prevent corrosion from occurring.

Instruments to monitor humidity were installed on the cables and the raw data brought down to road-deck level as 4-20mA signals. These were converted to RS-485 by Siemens ET200S PLCs and fed onto a web based SCADA system.

The data cables, along with power cables, were installed under the cycleway and to prevent interference fibre optics were used for the RS-485 data.

After a successful trial, nearly 100 RocketLinx MC5001 units and 4km of fibre optic cable were installed along the whole length of the Forth Road Bridge. Monitoring equipment on each of the towers were included in the system along with the weather station on the bridge.

The weather station uses RS-232 and the versatile MC5001 unit was used and simply configured using the on-board DIP switches.

“This project was another example of the versatility of Comtrol Europe’s products” said Tony Elvidge, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Comtrol Europe.

Richard Cox, Director of Pennine Control Systems said “Several serial to fibre converters were considered, but the most cost effective, simple to implement solution was soon settled as the RocketLinx unit."

+44 1869 352740
Tony Elvidge
Comtrol GmbH
Unit 2
Staplehurst Business Park
Weston on the Green
OX25 3QU

Comtrol GmbH
Caroline Scarrott
01869 352740