As the push toward digitization around Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 initiatives come to the forefront of every vertical worldwide, the growing prevalence of Ethernet on the plant floor is no longer surprising to anyone today. But it remains interesting to see how this still-developing trend is driving the technology alliances shaping the future of the automation industry.
A recent example of such an alliance was the announcement that Honeywell has become a principal member of ODVA to support the use of Ethernet/IP in the process industries. Honeywell’s activities in ODVA, an association comprised of technology suppliers supporting industrial automation communication technologies, will proceed through its Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) business. Other principal members of ODVA include Bosch Rexroth, Cisco Systems, Endress+Hauser, Rockwell Automation, Omron and Schneider Electric.
Honeywell’s support for Ethernet/IP via ODVA underscores the company’s use of Ethernet/IP in its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) and ControlEdge PLC.
“Ethernet/IP is an important platform for industrial control and, in the future, for overall digitization,” said Brian Reynolds, senior director of engineering for HPS’ Projects and Automation Solutions business. “By joining ODVA as a principal member, Honeywell is increasing its contribution to the advancement of Ethernet/IP and related ODVA technology and standards in order to increase productivity, reliability, safety, security and digitization in the process and hybrid industries.”
During a presentation at the ODVA 2018 Industry Conference earlier this month, Reynolds noted the role ODVA plays in ensuring device interoperability through specifications and defined device behaviors, mandatory and comprehensive conformance testing, and EDS technology—files used for device and network integration of DeviceNet, ControlNet and Ethernet/IP applications. “Interoperability allows the user to safely interconnect different device types, from a multitude of vendors, on the same Ethernet/IP network. ODVA and Ethernet/IP ensures that all data is accessible and all devices interoperate in a safe and predictable manner,” said Reynolds.
Also at the ODVA conference, Dave Bell, senior control systems engineer at DuPont, described how the company’s Spruance Works Facility near Richmond, Va., integrated Rockwell and Siemens controllers into its Honeywell PKS distributed control system using Honeywell’s Ethernet/IP-supporting Experion Ethernet Interface Module (EIM). Using EIM enabled DuPont to integrate its Rockwell drives, relays and programmable logic controlleres (PLCs) into Experion PKS. Turck’s excom I/O system was used to integrate Siemens PLCs using Profibus communications into Experion PKS.
“The key strength of Ethernet/IP is its ability to pull multiple pieces of data from a given device—avoiding multiple cable pulls and I/O consumption—and give a more complete picture of the status and operation of the device,” said Reynolds in reference to DuPont’s use of EIM in this project. He added that use of EIM enabled the reduction of labor hours on this integration project by 80 percent for motor, drive and PLC interfaces, and reduced wiring costs by 50 percent for these same devices.
“Adoption of Ethernet/IP in the process industries is poised for vertical take-off within the next ten years,” said Katherine Voss, president and CEO of ODVA. “ODVA welcomes increased participation from Honeywell Process Solutions inside ODVA as we work together to bring the benefits of Ethernet/IP to users in an ever-expanding range of industries within and beyond the process industries.”
ODVA activities around Ethernet/IP include a technical working group focused on enhancements to “The Ethernet/IP Specification” for specific needs in the process industries. ODVA also collaborates with the FieldComm Group and Profibus and Profinet International to help promote greater adoption of Ethernet in industry that will be made possible by forthcoming enhancements to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard for long-reach single pair Ethernet.