A unified mass notification system (MNS) is defined as a platform to deliver a message to a small or large group of people. LED display based Mass Notification systems have been present in many forms for many years. Since the mid-80’s Automakers have adopted forms of Industrial Andon LED Display Systems to track productivity and service calls on factory floors all over the globe. Common information is relayed in real time by machine operators for material calls, maintenance personnel for machine faults, and to various levels of production management tracking goals for units per shift versus actual units per shift. Recently, we’ve seen mass notification systems trickle into the commercial marketplace with many of the same principles. Let’s explore how this information is commonly relayed to LED displays.
More and more we are noticing LED display integration into complex Fire Alarm Systems adding visual alerts to alarm systems for large school systems, colleges & universities, government buildings, as well as military bases with dry contacts. We also see Dry Contact applications in simple conference room/interview rooms, traffic control areas, and hospital systems. We also see networked software and large scale facilities that utilize PLCs. Let’s break these common applications down.
Dry Contact Closures
Messages are simple in nature usually just a few words. Multiple alerts/message are triggered by Dry Contact Closures, which is a nice and simple way to send messages to multiple LED displays. The messages are stored on a device we call HMC and vary based on which inputs are triggered at any given point. Content, color, flashing, scrolling speed, and hold times are all pre-programmed onto the HMC.
The HMC is linked to the LED display via RS485 connection and can be linked to multiple LED display units as far away as 4000 feet. This allows “alerts” to be triggered throughout a building with the needed safety message shown on the displays for quick and easy relaying in safety based applications. The same is true for simple alerts such as, “Classified or Unclassified Meeting in Progress” as well.
Messages can be more complex in nature. Multiple LED displays at multiple locations on the same network can be controlled from a single location or workstation. VUE software by Electro-Matic is an online cloud-based software program compatible with all operating systems for anything including electronic message centers, to LED video walls, televisions, menu boards, digital billboards, and more. This new software contains countless features that are all extremely user-friendly.
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)
Messages are real time and can bring together content from multiple sources. Large manufacturing facilities in the automation industry, and the traffic control systems, and logistics hubs are common applications. A PLC is an industrial computer control system that continuously monitors the state of input devices and makes decisions based upon a custom program to control the state of output devices. With the introduction of a PLC we can integrate seamlessly into the automated world. We see PLC’s control trigger multiple displays. We also see multiple PLC’s that can send data from many areas of the factory floor to a single LED display. Controls engineers and system integrators can connect many devices to the LED displays.
PLC’s can be connected to LED displays via Ethernet or Serial RS232/RS485 connections. Because of the large amounts of data sent, the PLC helps change the display every couple of seconds in some cases. PLC Manufacturers vary whether Allen Bradley, Siemens, or Mitsubishi just to name a few. They all operate slightly differently and the trick here from the LED Manufacturer is flexibility and experience. The ability to work with multiple applications is a key factor allowing participation in multiple vertical markets.
As you can see, Mass Notification Systems and LED Displays integrate easily. The versatile nature of LED displays easily allows Users the freedom to setup Control Systems best suited for their own environments. Electro-Matic Visual has been in the Mass Notification marketplace for 25 years. We have the experience, versatility, products offerings to fit any mass notification project.