Ready for the Future: Benefitting from the flexibility and breadth of EtherNet/IP
How does one prepare for the unknown? Every day, managers analyse risk and return for the investments of time and resources that are made, and they do it not with crystal balls and Tarot cards, but with data and careful research. As manufacturing facilities are retrofitted and built, industrial Ethernet has become the technology of choice because of what it delivers today and what it can deliver in the future, and when choosing how to replace multi-tier networking strategy with one standard network architecture, manufacturers have primarily turned to the proven benefits of EtherNet/IP(tm).
EtherNet/IP is the most widely adopted industrial Ethernet technology and is capable of handling the broadest range of applications, including discrete, safety, motion, process and drive control. Its extensive vendor support ensures that it will meet current and future requirements of users, with interoperable Ethernet products available from over 375 vendors. Together these companies, including Cisco, Schneider Electric, Omron, Bosch Rexroth and Rockwell Automation, provide more than 1,000 product lines and several million installed devices on EtherNet/IP.
Manufacturers looking to streamline their control and information flow and achieve a single network architecture can rely on EtherNet/IP's ability to connect across applications and from the IT infrastructure to the instrumentation level. Using the same Ethernet and TCP/IP protocol suite used for email, the Internet and other commercial applications, EtherNet/IP typically exceeds the real-time performance, resiliency and security of traditional field bus solutions. Furthermore, because EtherNet/IP uses readily available, off-the-shelf media and complies with IEEE 802.3/TCP/UDP/IP standards and conventions, IT professionals and engineers can collaborate easily to deploy and maintain security, reliability and quality of service within the enterprise and throughout the plant floor.
EtherNet/IP uses common tools for both industrial and enterprise networks, plus standard industrial products such as Ethernet switches/routers/firewalls, IP cameras and IP telephony. As a result, manufacturers can take advantage of the ongoing advancements of standard Ethernet and TCP/IP technology, making EtherNet/IP a scalable, future-ready network architecture.
Rather than replacing obsolete networks every few years, manufacturers can make EtherNet/IP their industrial architecture foundation, easily building on the network to keep pace with emerging technologies. In addition, EtherNet/IP's nimble infrastructure translates to flexible network design. Users can customize their networks to accommodate today's requirements while easing the way for cost-effective expansions tomorrow.
EtherNet/IP is backed by a strong vendor community working together through ODVA, the association that manages and develops the EtherNet/IP technology, to adapt the EtherNet/IP technology to the needs of users. Case in point: to help manufacturers achieve their energy reduction goals now and in the future, EtherNet/IP includes a comprehensive set of functionality for energy awareness and power management. This allows users to conserve energy with reduced power usage during non-operational states of devices and equipment, yielding significant energy savings. Furthermore, these standards for energy reporting and power management allow vendors to provide a scalable and comprehensive energy solution for their customers and reduce overall time for implementation for vendors, OEMs, systems integrators and end-users alike.
ODVA is committed to creating a healthy future for EtherNet/IP through services that maintain the integrity and interoperability of the technology, enable members to freely innovate, and streamline the introduction of new products. EtherNet/IP backed by mandatory conformance testing for products implementing the standard, providing users with the best "out-of-the-box" experience. ODVA's conformance testing process has been established to ensure that all EtherNet/IP products comply with the ODVA specifications, will integrate correctly into an existing network of EtherNet/IP products and interoperate successfully with products from a multitude of vendors. As a result, EtherNet/IP's ease of use will continue to increase.
Learn more about how EtherNet/IP can help you today and in the future by visiting the ODVA stand at SPS IPC Drives (Hall 6, stand 134), and mark your calendars to join ODVA in sunny Phoenix for the 2014 Industry Conference on March 11-14.
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