Unifying data flow and optimizing its accessibility across the plant floor - and across the enterprise - is critical to continually improving process predictability, as well as asset management and real-time control.
Predictability and information is paramount in process control. The good news is that today's advanced plant-floor devices can capture and report
unprecedented volumes of variables that affect predictability. For example, it's not uncommon for modern process instrumentation to send 10-15 process variables at one time.
The challenge lies in deploying an automation network that's capable of incorporating all the data streaming from process control sensors, actuators
and other devices that measure and control level, flow, temperature, pressure and other process variables such as analytic data like ph or dissolved oxygen levels.
Other devices common in process applications - such as drives, process controllers and operator workstations - also need to transfer data, but often work on completely different networks.
Unifying this data flow and optimizing its accessibility across the plant floor - and across the enterprise - is critical to continually improving
process predictability, as well as asset management and real-time control.
EtherNet/IP provides these capabilities and more:
- Unlike proprietary networks, which often intrinsically limit the types of information they gather, EtherNet/IP can capture and report all information from all
IP-enabled devices on the plant floor - pulling up to 500 bytes of information per read per machine. Thus, EtherNet/IP enables consequential, real-time analysis
by providing primary and secondary measurements. Engineers and operators have access to all information they need, rather than having to "cherry pick" the most
important parameters. That means if something goes wrong, personnel can examine all the measurements in real time, and quickly take corrective action, rather
than lose a batch.
- EtherNet/IP is highly object-oriented, optimizing asset management. EtherNet/IP is designed to recognize all orientations available in every asset on the plant
floor, identify which ones are being used, and map all the distinct objects within each asset. The network can then report all that information in a meaningful
way so plant operators can manage all assets on one protocol. EtherNet/IP's fault device-replacement methodology also increases asset-management effectiveness.
- EtherNet/IP is highly flexible at both the physical and networking level. While fiber cable has been the default media for process control, EtherNet/IP also
accommodates copper and wireless communication. It also enables process plants to employ modern networking techniques and multiple technologies, such as VLAN
segmentation, visualization and SCADA using protocols like OPC.
- Network convergence provides huge savings for process control applications. That's because proprietary networks require more specialized support, more people
and more training. EtherNet/IP not only communicates seamlessly across the enterprise - it helps assure compatibility with all IP and standard Ethernet devices
found in today's marketplace. A prime example is surveillance video, which can be a critical safety and operations tool in process applications in hazardous or
- EtherNet/IP is scalable. Because of its ubiquitous compatibility with IP devices, it doesn't require add-on equipment to expand. So plants can tailor a networking
solution that fits their size - and can accommodate future needs and technologies.
To learn more about how EtherNet/IP is deployed for process applications, sign up for the Industrial IP Advantage industrial network design training here