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Increase productivity and reduce costs

Increase productivity and reduce costs
In this article, ODVA outlines the requirements for networking in modern automation, and looks at the benefits of EtherNet/IP.

Manufacturers around the globe now recognise networks technology as an ideal means to improve productivity and quality. However, plant managers often find they have to support more than one network, and often with networks that are optimised for a specific application, without regard to the overall architecture. These networks may not speak the same language or handle data in the same way - even if these networks have a similar name. As a result, it takes extra resources and programming to integrate these networks, and users rarely achieve all of the gains promised. Adding to the concerns of many users is that some of these networks are not open or are dominated by a single major automation supplier.  

With the wide variety of performance and application requirements - for example, control, information and safety - many users would strongly benefit from a 'one size fits all' solution.  EtherNet/IP, based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP), has proven to be that solution for an extensive assortment of applications. EtherNet/IP was introduced in 2001 and today is the most developed, proven and complete industrial Ethernet network solution available for manufacturing automation, with the largest sold base of nodes, as confirmed in the IMS Research report 'The World Market for Industrial Ethernet - 2009 Edition'. It uses standard Ethernet (IEEE 802.3), standard TCP/IP suite and software components, and standard switches and other infrastructure products, allowing users to select best-of-breed products to increase productivity and reduce costs.

EtherNet/IP offers several unique advantages for manufacturing automation applications:
  • Complete producer-consumer services let you simultaneously control, configure and collect data from intelligent devices over a single network or use a single network as a backbone for multiple CIP Networks
  • Compatible with standard Internet protocols - eg HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP - and standard industrial protocols for data access and exchange such as OPC
  • Compliance with IEEE Ethernet standards provides users with a choice of network interface speeds - eg 10, 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps - and a flexible network architecture compatible with commercially available Ethernet installation options including copper, fibre, fibre ring and wireless
  • Options for industrially rated devices incorporating IP67-rated connectors (RJ45 or M12) with module and network status LEDs with device labeling for ease of use

Furthermore, EtherNet/IP is based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP), a media-independent protocol encompassing a comprehensive suite of messages and services for the collection of manufacturing automation applications-control, safety, synchronisation, motion, configuration and information. CIP offers seamless bridging and routing without the added cost and complexity of gateways or proxies, and CIP provides the freedom to deploy interoperable, multivendor systems, even providing the architecture to seamless integrate Modbus devices without special gateways.

CIP includes extensions for motion, synchronisation, and safety applications through CIP Safety (providing high-integrity safety services and messages for CIP, approved IEC 61508 - SIL3 and EN 954-1 - Category 4); CIP Sync (defines time synchronisation services using standard IEEE-1588); and CIP Motion (provides users with a real-time, deterministic closed loop motion control for multi-axis controller-to-controller synch-ronisation and controller-to-drive communication).
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