The ODVA (www.odva.org) announced recently that it will publish new editions of the specifications for ODVA networks, updating the EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet technologies, and the CIP Safety extension to the EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet networks.
The ongoing evolution of these technologies continues to help end-users to utilize fully their networks for the growing range of industrial applications, said the ODVA, formerly known as the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association, the Ann Arbor, Mich., vendor-based association that supports network technologies based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). Of the 44 specific enhancements to these technologies, the association noted that the addition of QuickConnect functionality and IP Address Conflict Detection to the EtherNet/IP specification will be of significant interest to end-users.
Since USCAR, the umbrella organization for collaborative research among Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., announced in 2006 its intention to promote plant floor standardization on EtherNet/IP, the networking specification has found increasing use in the automotive industry. Initially used to connect robots, human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable controllers, EtherNet/IP today is applied in broad range of real-time control applications in the automotive industry, such as weld timers, drives and I/O modules, the ODVA said.
Make it quick
The auto industry has looked to ODVA and its members for new features to take EtherNet/IP into the robot arm and onto tool changers, where devices must power up and exchange input/output (I/O) data with the controller with minimal interruption of production. ODVA’s Automotive Special Interest Group (Auto SIG), drawn from controller, robot, tool changer, and on-tool device manufacturers, has now defined a new timing sequence to connect devices within 500 milliseconds using EtherNet/IP.
Officially called “QuickConnect,” the new functionality is said to be easily deployable, and ODVA expects to see the first deployments in automotive applications within the next six to nine months. Further due to the flexibility of the specification, said the association, it also expects to see QuickConnect becoming widely deployed in multiple industries.
Enrico De Carolis, chair of ODVA’s Auto SIG and director of technology development for ODVA member Numatics Inc. (www.numatics.com), Novi, Mich., said, “Over the last few years, EtherNet/IP has been adopted for automotive manufacturing applications at a blistering pace. For tool-changer applications, DeviceNet with QuickConnect has been used for several years. With QuickConnect now available on EtherNet/IP, automotive users will be able use a single EtherNet/IP network when QuickConnect is needed which will simplify deployment, commissioning, maintainability.”
Recognizing that users continue to enlarge the size of their EtherNet/IP systems, both in terms of number of devices and physical footprint of the installation, ODVA has also introduced a new service for EtherNet/IP networks called Address Conflict Detection (ACD). This feature will improve ease of use for EtherNet/IP users, the ODVA said, as the trend toward larger systems has made it easier to have system problems resulting from the accidental introduction of devices with duplicate Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
ACD will enable EtherNet/IP devices to detect and act upon IPv4 address conflicts, including defending their IP address and providing diagnostics to identify that a conflict has occurred and which devices are involved. ADR is designed to help to solve the historically difficult and time-consuming problem of identifying and resolving communication problems caused by IP address conflicts to ensure the consistent behavior of devices in such circumstances. Further, users, who may have been further frustrated by the lack of standards for detecting IP address conflicts, will be pleased to know that ACD conforms to the IETF RFC 5227, promulgated by the Internet Engineering Task Force.
CIP Safety, ODVA’s extension to its Common Industrial Protocol for functional safety, now includes the addition of a Safety Analog Device Profile with capability for dual inputs, the ODVA said. Introduced in 2002, CIP Safety has been certified by TÜV Rheinland to comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61508 in applications up to SIL3 (for Safety Integrity Level). CIP Safety-compliant devices have been working in the field since 2005, said the ODVA.
ODVA expects that devices containing new enhancements found in the latest specifications will be available during 2011.