New 1-Gigabit Industrial Ethernet Protocol Debuts

The CC-Link Partner Association and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. unveiled new products in Japan at Systems Control Fair.

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) demonstrated its Gigabit industrial Ethernet (IE) protocol, CC-Link IE, publicly for the first time the Systems Control Fair Nov. 13-16 in Tokyo. CC-Link IE, according to the CLPA, is the first global 1-Gigabit, open-standard manufacturing network. The technology is designed to operate on the sensor/controller, field, and controller network levels, with connectivity to enterprise information technology (IT) networks running conventional Ethernet technologies. 

The network uses standard Ethernet IEEE 802.3z multimode fiber-optic cable in a dual-loop topology. Determinism is assured with network common memory without added hubs or switches. Its dual-loop architecture employs a ring topology with redundancy, which the CLPA claims ensures reliability on a number of levels. The loop architecture will self-heal if a station goes down or the fiber breaks, and transmission directionality reverses to enable continuity of data transfer. 

According to the CPLA, the ring topology accommodates networks up to 66 kilometers (42 miles) of fiber optic cabling with no loss in communication speed. As many as 120 stations can be integrated into each network, and 239 of these networks can be directly linked together, creating total systems with more than 14,000 km of cabling handling more than 25,000 nodes. 

Mitsubishi origin 

CC-Link IE was developed by Japan-based Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and donated to the CLPA. At the Systems Control Fair, a range of CC-Link IE products from Mitsubishi Electric and others were also introduced. 

Mitsubishi Electric unveiled a new human-machine interface (HMI) and several automation peripherals, as well as a new factory Manufacturing Execution System (MES)/IT architecture that Mitsubishi calls e-F@ctory. It employs Mitsubishi’s Q series programmable logic controllers (PLCs) with built-in capability to re-format factory data flows into forms suitable for MES and enterprise resource planning (ERP) data-harvesting in real time. The company claims that the architecture eliminates the need to interpose personal computers running data translation software between the floor and high-level systems, with an overall savings achieved through reduced installation and software costs. This technology was unveiled in a February announcement with ILS Technolgy of Boca Raton, Fla. (Automation World, March, p. 25). 

The new PLCs provide SQL (structured query language) data types to SQL-based systems, including those from Oracle, Microsoft and Invensys Wonderware. Included software enables plant and IT personnel to select data for transmission up the chain without the need to master SQL query language constructs. Follow-on traceability, performance management and MES integration peripherals are planned for e-F@ctory. The goal is a single hardware and software suite to handle system design, programming, installation and maintenance phases for automation projects. 

Safety entries 

Several new safety devices were also introduced, including a small-footprint 60-point safety input/output (I/O) remote and safety PLCs with built-in redundancy. Standards compliance includes ISO2100/ISO14121 from the International Organization for Standardization and SIL (safety integrity level) level (there seems to be a number missing here, such as SIL 2 or SIL 3) as defined in IEC61508. The company also demonstrated a new, liquid crystal display (LCD)-based HMI in its GOT1000 series, with sufficient onboard memory to store PLC programs. A front-panel USB (universal serial bus) port enables fast download of new programs. The unit also can output to speakers for voice annunciation of error and other conditions, enabling manufacturers to sidestep the need for operator mastery of on-screen English or Japanese messages. 

Additionally, Mitsubishi introduced a CC-Link-compatible gear motor with integrated inverter. The configuration simplifies wiring, particularly when used in an installation where a single controller drives multiple motors. Finally, the company introduced an energy-saving, high-efficiency synchronous magnetic FR-FP700/FP500J motor and FR-F700 and E700 inverters that significantly reduce energy use, especially during periods of low-torque, low-speed operation.

CC-Link Partner Association

Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

More in Networks