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Server links PLCs to serial devices

01 January, 2005

Server links PLCs to serial devices

A US company claims to have developed the first device server that acts as a "universal translator", allowing any PLC to communicate with any serial device using the Profinet, Ethernet I/P or Modbus/TCP protocols. Comtrol`s DeviceMaster UP (shown below) hosts an Industrial Ethernet engine and translates device communications to a suitable format for a PLC. One network-attached DeviceMaster can serve up to 32 serial devices.

It will enable "fast, accurate collection of key data needed to keep the factory floor operating smoothly and efficiently," says Bradford Beale, vice-president of Comtrol`s industrial connectivity division. "Critical data such as inventory levels, package weights, raw materials levels, and billed projects can be accessed at the touch of a key - leading to better, more timely decisions, based on complete and accurately tracked information."

In addition, he says, malfunctioning devices will be diagnosed and fixed quicker.

Graphical software supplied with the servers can be used to configure, manage and monitor devices from a central PC. The PortVision software allows network administrators to see the operating conditions of each server on the network in real time.

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