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Industrial Network Protocols in the News

Industrial networks are past the adolescent stage and are evolving into mature and responsible members of the automation community. A number of the organizations that manage the network protocols recently made announcements about upgrades and advances to their specs. Here's a round up.

Also, for up-to-the-minute industrial network news, follow the tweets that come out of Summit Media’s The Automation Conference (#TAC2012), being held on May 23, 2012 in Rosemont, IL. For the first time ever, evangelists for six of the leading Ethernet networking protocols will gather to promote the merits of their approach in front of an audience of automation and process control professionals. Automation World has assembled the players, which includes representatives speaking on behalf of Profinet, EtherNet/IP, Ethernet PowerLink, CC-Link IE Field, EtherCAT and Sercos.

PI North America (www.us.profibus.com) says the Profibus and Profinet specifications are stable, but innovations continue using application profiles such as PROFIenergy.  Application profiles format information transmitted over the Profibus and Profinet communications protocols. Additional PROFIenergy products were introduced at Hannover Messe 2012, the huge German automation trade show. That event also saw the demonstration of products with 31.25 microsecond update times. Find out more at www.AllThingsPROFINET.com

ODVA (www.odva.org) says its first round of specification enhancements for 2012 include publication of expanded capabilities for the optimization of energy usage on EtherNet/IP and other CIP Networks.

CC-Link Partner Association (www.cclinkamerica.org) announced that CC-Link IE Field Network, its 1Gbps Ethernet fieldbus network, now supports motion control functions. A synchronous communication function has been added to the existing CC-Link IE Ethernet stack, which permits the precise synchronised control of multiple axes.

The Sercos (www.sercos.org) network organizations have released an update to the specification for the Sercos III Real-time Ethernet solution. The V1.3 specification broadens the functionality and the range of applications of the protocol and adds two new drive profiles—one defines parameters and commands for the reduction of the energy consumption, while an encoder profile makes the interface of absolute and incremental encoders available to all devices on a Sercos network.

The South Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) announced that the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) accepted more protocols as Korean Industrial Standards. CC-Link, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP and Profinet are now all Korean standards. The standards also apply to Profibus DP, Profibus PA and Profinet applications for process automation.

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