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Ethernet/IP adaptor hooks drives into networks

01 March, 2003

Ethernet/IP adaptor hooks drives into networks

Rockwell has developed an adaptor which gives its PowerFlex drives an Ethernet/IP I/O capability. The Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), which promotes Ethernet/IP, says that these are the first drives to offer the ability to integrate with networks in this way. According to the ODVA, research indicates that by 2004, 45% of all drives in Europe will be used on networks.

The adaptor simultaneously supports three types of communication:

real-time I/O communications, which allow the drive to appear as an I/O module to any Ethernet/IP-enabled controller, thus providing a simple way of configuring the drive parameters and allowing the drive set-up to be changed dynamically to optimise its performance;

explicit messaging for non-time-critical information, which makes all of the drive`s parameters available over Ethernet/IP and allows them to be accessed either by a controller or by dedicated configuration software; and

real-time consumer-producer (drive-to-drive) communications, which allows users to implement master-follower applications in real time, without needing a PLC or other controller.

Users can customise how the drive will react in the event of a controller or network problem. So, for example, if the network fails, the drive can continue to run at it last speed command, thus avoiding dangerous operating conditions.

"Initial Ethernet/IP implementations were focused on PLC-to-HMI interfacing," comments Paul Brooks of the ODVA`s European steering committee. "Today, we are moving into a world where Ethernet/IP architectures are being built without the need for either PLCs or HMIs!"

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