EtherNet/IP Gains Momentum

At the recent Hannover Fair, the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association launched an EtherNet/IP seminar series, while unveilng new support and the latest advances in the industrial networking technology.

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The Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA) made several announcements on April 24 at the annual Hannover Fair in Germany. The Association has projected that more than 1 million total nodes of EtherNet/IP-based networking technology have shipped worldwide, with more than 150 vendors promoting nearly 400 products. EtherNet/IP networks use the same standard transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) chips and wiring that are used for standard commercial Ethernet networks. The network shares the same application layer—the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP)—as DeviceNet, ControlNet and the recently announced CompoNet.

ODVA has launched a series of EtherNet/IP seminars designed to increase industry awareness and technical expertise of how to implement the network. The free, one-day seminars for potential users and vendors of EtherNet/IP products and networks will be held at various locations around the world. Upcoming confirmed dates and locations in 2006 are:

May 19: Shanghai, China

June 15: Guangzhou, China

June 22: Southfield, Mich.

Oct. 19: Houston.

The association has published the CIP Safety protocol for EtherNet/IP in the latest edition of the CIP Safety Specification, Edition 1.1. According to ODVA, the CIP Safety protocol for EtherNet/IP meets the requirements of International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61508 up to Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) and establishes the technical foundation for the implementation of CIP Safety on EtherNet/IP.

Auto industry acceptance

The United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) has agreed to support EtherNet/IP as the industrial Ethernet network standard for plant floor applications in vehicle assembly facilities. To further this agreement, USCAR is proceeding with specific initiatives to accelerate its adoption in the U.S. vehicle assembly operations of its three member companies—DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.

In the first of its initiatives directed at EtherNet/IP, USCAR is working with ODVA to identify aspects of network performance that have the most impact on real-time control applications that are typical in vehicle assembly operations and developing reporting criteria for specific network performance parameters.

Further, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ODVA have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to research and develop industry standards and test methodologies for performance parameters of EtherNet/IP devices.

The CRADA will be conducted in two phases. Phase One will consist of research and development activities at NIST's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md., to identify performance metrics and methodologies, along with reporting standards. Phase Two of the CRADA will consist of activities at ODVA's Technology and Training Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., to establish commercial test capability at the facility to conduct and certify the results of performance tests.

CIP in motion

The CIP Motion Drive Profile has been published in the latest edition of the EtherNet/IP Specification (Edition 1.2). The CIP Motion Drive Profile establishes the technical foundation for the implementation of multi-axis, synchronized motion control on EtherNet/IP.

The CIP Motion Drive Profile supports a range of drive types from variable frequency drives to high performance servo drives. This network architecture allows users to deploy a standard Ethernet switched infrastructure and ensures that their installations using EtherNet/IP will be compatible with future Ethernet and EtherNet/IP enhancements.

Also in the latest edition of the EtherNet/IP Specification is CIP Sync. CIP Sync consists of a time synchronization object and associated services that allow users to synchronize devices, including motion axes, using "time." If required to meet application demands, CIP Sync can achieve clock synchronization between devices of +/- 100 nanoseconds. ODVA expects to see vendors start offering EtherNet/IP products compliant with the CIP Motion Drive Profile in 2007.

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