Enabling CC-Link IE communication using general-purpose 100Mbps Ethernet

The CC-Link Partner Association, working to expand the adoption of the industrial open network CC-Link IE, has announced the launch of CC-Link IE Field Basic.

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The CC-Link Partner Association, working to expand the adoption of the industrial open network CC-Link IE, has announced the launch of CC-Link IE Field Basic. This is an open field network using general-purpose 100Mbps Ethernet communication and is a new network mode in the CC-Link IE Ethernet-based integrated network lineup. Specifications enabling communication compatibility with software alone lower the threshold for control device networks and thus make it easier to realize transparent and high-efficiency production facilities.
■ CC-Link IE Field Basic Development History

CC-Link IE is an industrial open network using standard Ethernet technology. A key feature is the wide 1Gbps bandwidth unseen in other industrial networks. This exceptional bandwidth allows the simultaneous handling of process operation data (I/O updates, etc.) along with practically unlimited levels of asynchronous communication, such as production and operational performance data. These are known as “cyclic” and “transient” traffic with CC-Link IE and allow systems to maintain performance even under demanding application conditions. CC-Link IE consists of CC-Link IE Control network as a trunk network for inter-controller communication and CC-Link IE Field network for connecting controllers to field devices.

These features have led to the adoption of CC-Link IE not only in Asia but all over the world; however, as attention increasingly focuses on the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), low-end devices and small-scale equipment, conventionally on the fringe of networks, are now in need of connectivity as never before. Rather than high speed, these production sites demand excellent cost-performance and easily implemented networks.

The CC-Link Partner Association has released the CC-Link IE Field Basic specification as a solution that offers easier network compatibility while maintaining mutual connectivity with CC-Link IE.

■ CC-Link IE Field Basic Features

1) Implementation with general purpose Ethernet devices
CC-Link IE Field Basic achieves the cyclic communication required for device control with software at the network protocol application layer. General purpose Ethernet compatible devices can support CC-Link IE Field Basic through software implementation alone. Transient communication leverages the benefits of Ethernet TCP/IP to make the CLPA’s Seamless Message Protocol (SLMP) available. Moreover, other Ethernet applications such as HTTP and FTP can be simultaneously implemented and used together.

2) Inherits CC-Link IE features such as network transparency

Functions provided by CC-Link IE allow production site visualization, such as linking production site devices and host IT systems, are inherited by CC-Link IE Field Basic. Devices which could not previously be connected to CC-Link IE can now be integrated and managed.

3) CC-Link IE Field Basic compatible slave devices can be developed quickly at low cost
Vendor development is quick, as only software implementation is required for CC-Link IE Field Basic compatible devices. Devices compatible with other protocols can share hardware, promoting lower costs. Furthermore, not only PLCs but also general-purpose computers can be used as master devices.

■ Upcoming Schedule

CC-Link IE Field Basic has already received support from Balluff, CKD, Hilscher, IDEC, Mitsubishi Electric, Molex, Phoenix Contact, Renesas Electronics and more.

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) would like to support and encourage vendor development; therefore the CLPA is launching a conformance testing campaign. Vendors who declare their intention to develop a CC-Link IE Field Basic compatible product by July 31, 2017 may receive an official CLPA conformance test certificate free of charge!

For more information, click here

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