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Coupler is the first to link Profinet to CC-Link

29 January, 2018

The first device that can link Profinet and CC-Link networks made its debut at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition, less than a year after PI (Profinet and Profibus International) and CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association) agreed on the specification for such devices. The NT 151-CCIE-RE coupler, developed by Hilscher, was demonstrated on CLPA’s SPS stand linking PLCs from Mitsubishi and Siemens.

The coupler allows bidirectional transmission of information between Profinet and CC-Link – the most popular networking protocols in Europe and Asia. It can link different parts of a production line operating on different networks.

The coupler works as a CC-Link IE Field device on one side, and as a Profinet IO device on the other, allowing both network controllers to communicate transparently with each other. It includes a model to map data from both sides, diagnostics for the coupler and the networks, and a SyCon-based DTM which works as the coupler configuration tool.

John Browett, general manager of CLPA Europe, says that with the SPS demonstration is a realisation of “the promise of increasing transparency and maximum flexibility to end-users and machine-builders”.

Hilscher’s business development manager, Armin Pühringer, predicts that the “simple bridge between the two networks will dramatically reduce the engineering work that has traditionally been necessary to achieve integration across the heterogeneous network architectures that are a fact of life in numerous plants around the world.”

Hilscher's coupler provides a transparent, bidirectional link between Profinet and CC-Link networks

PI chairman Karsten Schneider adds: “What CLPA and PI have proven here is that two competing organisations can work together for the good of our users. If we really mean what we say about Industry 4.0 and the IIoT, we will need to see more of this sort of collaboration. CLPA and PI are paving the way, with a level of cooperation that has not been seen before.”

Browett reveals that CLPA is talking to other suppliers and hopes that the Hilscher coupler “marks the start of the arrival of other products onto the market”.

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