Ethernet Process Management & Machinery Standards

At last week's Hannover Fair, ODVA announced two initiatives to strengthen industrial Ethernet standards for process automation, along with a working group that will take a look at exchanging information between machines to optimize machine integration.

Process automation focus
ODVA members, including Cisco Systems, Endress+Hauser, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider, are collaborating to improve and accelerate the adoption of EtherNet/IP in process systems. The first goal is to provide end users with a complete Ethernet solution and choices starting with connectivity down to field-level devices. Longer-range plans would expand standards into a more complete portfolio covering issues such as safety, explosion protection, long distances, and extensive diagnostic coverage.

Katharine Voss, executive director for ODVA, said at the show that acceptance of EtherNet/IP has created convergence between automation platforms for discrete and hybrid applications. Based on this experience, the next logical step is to address standards that would fulfill a spectrum of process industry requirements. ODVA's plans include the formation of a working group to determine strategic market requirements for new areas of technical work, and the completion of a white paper to describe its vision and technical approach to process automation.

Machinery information standards
A special interest group has also been formed to look at new standards for the exchange of information between machines and between machines and supervisory systems. The goal is to develop new data models and network services to address areas such as production, energy, condition monitoring, business intelligence, batch and recipe management, and multi-line machine control.

One focus is models for logically grouping machines' attributes and the services required for effective data exchange. This would allow heterogeneous systems using EtherNet/IP and CIP, servos III, and/or OPC UA to use a technology-neutral approach to developing reporting methods and tools.

Voss said the working group will further the vision of how the optimization of machinery standards can define open and interoperable standards for the integration of machinery assets into the production domain. The first step is to study the information and communication technology needs for use cases related to machine-to-supervisory communication. Future work will address the use cases related to machine-to-machine communication.

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