22 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Technology allows a network of devices to communicate as one

An example of a line topology set up using a Beep master and a rival I/O device.

Turck has announced a technology that allows a network of up to 33 devices (one master and 32 slaves), or 480 bytes of data, to appear to a PLC as a single device on a single connection using a single IP address. By reducing the number of connections that the PLC sees, it will allow users to create high-density I/O networks with low-cost PLCs with fewer connections.

Turck has already integrated the technology, called Beep (Backplane Ethernet Extension Protocol), into many of its multiprotocol digital block I/O modules. It is available to users at no extra cost; it is up to them whether they want to use it or not.

Beep is set up using a line networking topology. It does not support DLR (device-level ring) or other ring configurations. Only the master device communicates with the slaves; the PLC does not see them.

The first device in the line is made a Beep master via the device Web server. This master can then scan the entire network and create a data map that includes all of the downstream devices, with all of the device configuration options saved in the master.

The technology also supports drop-in device replacements, reducing downtime and costs. If a network is set up using Beep, a technician can simply replace a slave device with a new device to keep the system online. The master recognises the device automatically, assigns it an IP address, and downloads the parameters to it.

The technology is compatible with all standard Ethernet components and does not need any special equipment for its implementation.