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Ethernet I/O modules eliminate layers of control

27 May, 2009

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has announced an Ethernet-based system for linking small groups of distributed I/O devices, such as pushbuttons, directly to server-based systems such as SCADA and MES. The StationPortal system removes the need for layers of control equipment and will accelerate the speed of deploying and optimising systems, as well as cutting operating costs, according to GE Fanuc.

The system is based on modules (above) containing three discrete inputs, three discrete outputs, three indicator lamps, a pushbutton, a horn, and a serial port. The modules link, via 10/100Mb Fast Ethernet ports, to GE Fanuc’s Proficy HMI/SCADA Cimplicity 8.0 software package. Data from the I/O devices maps directly into the software.

“StationPortal is an alternative way of setting up the factory floor, because it gets rid of the traditional reliance on more expensive and complex, PLC-based assembly support systems,” says StationPortal product manager, Jason Messinger. “By using a central, server-based configuration over Ethernet, manufacturers can eliminate PLCs and flatten the architecture for production support tasks.

“This simpler architecture gives the user increased flexibility and drastically reduces the time required for activities such as line balancing and system modifications,” he adds.

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