Taking Ethernet To The I/O

May 9, 2007
This issue of Automation World’s Industrial Ethernet Review takes us on a deep dive into the input/output (I/O) structure of the control system. It is here that various flavors of industrial Ethernet are finding a place where just a few years ago, only the brave few entered. Many of the Ethernet I/O solutions leverage commercial chips using new standards and technologies. A few networks add a networking chip to make extra sure that certain critical loops—motion control, for example—receive the packets of data over the network exactly when they need them. Just as in many new technologies, there were many people who just couldn’t see a cheap, commercial network as robust enough for real manufacturing work. But they have been proven wrong by engineers looking for a better way.
Contributing Editor Terry Costlow tackles the issue by interviewing integrators and experts in the field to discover how Ethernet I/O is working, and what you should watch for. He also explores some other networks that complement Ethernet for certain specific applications. We’ve also uncovered some additional applications that show the growing momentum of Ethernet technologies at the control level.Follow-up WebcastThe information featured in this month’s publication will be expanded into a Webcast on June 14 with a stellar lineup of speakers. This will also be an excellent opportunity for you to ask them the hard questions. You can register for the Webcast at www.automationworld.com/webcasts.Contents4 Ethernet Takes OverA combination of lower cost, driven by use of commercially available chips for Ethernet, and new standards such as the IEC 61588 synchronization standard for motion networks, is propelling Industrial Ethernet firmly into the control input/output area.11 Ethernet Keeps the Water RunningThe Waterford Township Water Department keeps the water supply up-to-date and flowing with the help of Ethernet connected programmable automation controllers.14 A Quest for the Best RoastAn upgrade to an Ethernet-based control system enables Diedrich Manufacturing customers to get price and accurate control over their coffee roasting process.18 Ethernet Products

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