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Motion control system shares Ethernet network

20 April, 2011

Rockwell Automation is offering an integrated motion control system that runs on EtherNet/IP, sharing the same protocol and control architecture as other automation systems. The Integrated Motion on EtherNet/IP system is based on ODVA’s Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) Motion and CIP Sync technologies. Rockwell says that it will help to make machine designs more flexible, improve system performance and cut system costs.

“This really is an important evolution in machine control,” declares Haïthem Mansouri, Rockwell’s European product manager for motion control. “What we have done is close the loop. By introducing motion over EtherNet/IP, we have given engineers the ability to sidestep their reliance on specialist motion protocols such as Sercos. This has removed the final remaining barrier that was preventing the adoption of a complete, single, integrated network that is already capable of undertaking safety, process and discrete control.

“EtherNet/IP is, to all intents and purposes, identical to standard Ethernet, the only change being in the Application Layer,” Mansouri explains. “It uses standard, unmodified Ethernet, and allows users to effectively manage real-time control and information flow for improved plant-wide optimisation, ultimately resulting in more informed decision-making and better business performance.

“Other vendors use Ethernet," Mansouri adds, "but they just use the first physical layer – the actual protocol is proprietary and specialist. This means that although they can claim ‘Ethernet compatibility’, it is, in fact, just as closed as any other proprietary protocol.”

Using Rockwell’s new Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 557X PACs (programmable automation controllers), machine-builders can now configure, program, commission and maintain Kinetix 6500 servodrives (shown above) and PowerFlex 755 AC drives via EtherNet/IP.

EtherNet/IP offers a 100Mb/s throughput and is capable of 100ns time synchronisation of distributed devices and 100µs time-scheduled output and time-stamped input I/O.

As well as offering control and safety capabilities, Rockwell’s RSLogix 5000 software also provides 41 embedded motion instructions – in the Ladder, Structured Text and Sequential Function Chart languages. It can be used for motion configuration, programming, commissioning, diagnostics and drive maintenance.

Users can add motion functions to an application program simply by pointing and clicking. Any tags created in the software can then be shared and used across an enterprise. The single-software approach means fewer licenses, fewer compatibility issues and lower training costs.

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