ODVA Active on Joint Interoperability Front

The Open DeviceNet Vendors Association forges agreements with FDT and SERCOS International and also releases updated specifications.

The next editions the DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP Specifications have been published by the Open DeviceNet Vendors Association (ODVA). These new editions are the second publication of updates in 2006, and they bring a range of enhancements to the specifications that further increase ease of configuration, says the ODVA. More than 20 Specification Enhancements were integrated into these editions, allowing more comprehensive and useful information to be contained within electronic data sheet (EDS) files, adding Device Type Manager (DTM) configuration options and facilitating the deployment of these networks with increased flexibility. 

The update enables variable input/output (I/O) sizes to be specified within EDS files, provides a means for the contents of connection entries to be described, and allows the Device Classification section of the EDS file to be used to specify whether or not a module is a DeviceNet module. All of these enhancements will simplify device configuration in a network, the ODVA says. A further enhancement—both to the DeviceNet specification and to the wider common industrial protocol (CIP) specification—removes the limitation by which some text strings are English language only, allowing local languages to be used. 

Further enhancements to DeviceNet include improved diagnostics capabilities, the extending of power cable lengths from the previous three meters maximum up to a new 39 meter limit and the ability to use “flat media” cables and connectors. 

The enhanced specification for EtherNet/IP allows the additional use of LC sealed connectors in addition to MT-RJ connectors.  

ODVA/FDT cooperation 

ODVA and the FDT Group have published the “Field Device Tool for CIP Networks: Annex to FDT Specification.” This Annex provides the schemas required to implement the DTM configuration option for the currently available adaptations of networks built on CIP, which include DeviceNet, EtherNet/IP and ControlNet. DTM is an FDT-compliant piece of software used by an FDT-compliant frame application in a host to communicate with devices across different protocols. In addition to previous configuration options, the latest publication of the CIP Networks Library of specifications now also allows for DTM configuration for all CIP Networks. 

The addition of the DTM configuration option to CIP is part of the next generation of standards development activities to include plug-and-play configuration, providing users with a homogenous environment regardless of the networks in use.  

Richard Harwell, ODVA’s chief technical officer and chair of the CIP Software Tools joint special interest group (JSIG), states, “The addition of FDT support of CIP Networks will bring important benefits to the CIP user and vendor community. It will enable the development of more powerful and flexible configuration and monitoring tools. It also extends the interoperability of CIP Networks with other network technologies by enabling the development of network independent common software tools.” 

SERCOS too 

In another joint arrangement, SERCOS International (SI) and ODVA announced today that SI will adopt CIP Safety as its functional safety protocol for SERCOS (Serial Real-Time Communication System). ODVA, for its part, will extend “The CIP Safety Specification” to include safety profiles for SERCOS devices. SI will develop the SERCOS III network adaptation to use CIP Safety. SI and ODVA, jointly, will develop and establish conformance testing for devices implementing CIP Safety on SERCOS to help ensure compliance with the collective body of specifications and enable interoperability of these devices in multi-vendor systems. 

"CIP Safety stands alone as the world's only media-independent, truly open network protocol for functional safety," says Katherine Voss, ODVA executive director. "Adoption of CIP Safety by SERCOS International will provide users of SERCOS technology with a functional safety solution that meets industry's growing requirement for seamless integration of safety networks with the overall network architecture."  

The responsible technical working group within SI has already started to extend and adapt its initial "SERCOS safety" concept—published and approved by TÜV Rheinland in November 2005—to CIP Safety. SI and ODVA expect that the enhancements to their respective specifications to encompass the adaptation of SERCOS to CIP Safety will be published during 2007. They also expect to release the first device implementations by the end of 2007.

FDT Group
www.fdtgroup.org
Open DeviceNet Vendors Association
www.odva.org
SERCOS International
www.sercos.de

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