Remember the days when 1 GB of memory on a computer seemed like overkill? Seems quaint now as applications were created that quickly dwarfed the need for what seemed, at the time, like a gargantuan amount of memory.
In the manufacturing sector, recent discussions have focused on the true need for Gigabit Ethernet. The consensus — currently — seems to hold that, outside of complex motion control applications, there is likely little need for Gigabit Ethernet by most manufacturers. But as computing power continues to advance and new technologies are created to take advantage of it for improved production processes and data management, there is little doubt that all the questioning about the need for Gb Ethernet will one day soon seem as quaint as wondering if we really needed 1 GB of storage on our PCs.
To enable users of its FR-A700 inverter (a high-precision drive with auto-tuning, self diagnostics and integrated PLC functions) to begin working with Gb Ethernet using installed equipment, Mitsubishi Electric Automation is offering a CC-Link IE Field option card for this inverter. The option card reportedly delivers control of remote I/O and simultaneous read/write functionality up to one Gbps. The new card also integrates FR-A700 inverters into the open-technology CC Link IE Field Industrial Ethernet, enabling it to connect more than 120 stations on a single network.
With the option card in the FR-A700, the inverter can be used to remotely manage data across PLCs, computers and field devices, such as digital and analog I/O, RFID readers, variable frequency drives and motion controllers.
Due to the architecture of CC-Link IE Field Industrial Ethernet, use of the new card eliminates the need for Ethernet switches and the associated hardware and implementation costs, according to Mitsubishi Electric Automation.