Preserving Simplicity
quote start Simplicity is the purest form of genius quote end
EtherNet/IP helps enable a simple network architecture and supports a converged network architecture to help manufacturers achieve plant wide optimization.

"Simplicity is the purest form of genius." — Albert Einstein

Einstein recognized this principle when he penned his “Three Rules of Work.” His first rule: Out of clutter, find simplicity. Four hundred years earlier, Leonardo da Vinci famously described simplicity as “the ultimate sophistication.” The evidence behind that observation is everywhere today: Simplicity is the “holy grail” of innovations ranging from Google to the iPod. Simplicity also extends to finding the ideal industrial network.

Today, disparate networks largely isolate data on most factory floors. Instead of sharing critical operational intelligence between the factory floor and the rest of the organization, these specialized networks hinder decision-making, plant wide optimization and full asset utilization.

In addition, many of these specialized networks don’t age gracefully. Perhaps they were the fastest, most reliable networks at one time, but unless they can accommodate technological advancements easily, their performance merits are short-lived.

The Foundation of Business Agility

To achieve true business agility, machine builders and manufacturers need a simple network architecture that provides access to real-time production data. By far the most popular is Ethernet.

However, many organizations have problems accommodating the divergent needs of key decision-makers (see Figure 1). For example, IT professionals want to manage the network in the same way they manage the enterprise. They have their own network management tools and considerable expertise, but need to learn about the needs of the real-time controls world. Controls engineers understand the production process and want to maintain uptime, but need to grow their expertise in Ethernet and gain access to IT resources.

accelerate network convergence and address the different
needs of IT professionals, controls engineers and machine builders

Figure 1. Rockwell Automation and Cisco Systems collaborated to provide education, design guidance, recommendations and best practices in order to accelerate network convergence and address the different needs of IT professionals, controls engineers and machine builders.

Meanwhile, machine builders want to move away from proprietary networks, support fewer networks, and have remote access to equipment to provide value-added maintenance services. However, to provide these services, they need the ability to conform to the end user’s network security policy.

Enter EtherNet/IP

EtherNet/IPTM is the one of the world’s leading open industrial Ethernet networks capable of handling the widest range of applications, including discrete, safety, motion, process and drive control. EtherNet/IP delivers interoperable Ethernet products from more than 300 vendors, including Cisco, Schneider Electric, Omron, Bosch Rexroth and Rockwell Automation, providing more than 1,000 product lines and several million installed devices on EtherNet/IP.

Able to connect across applications and from the IT infrastructure to the instrumentation level, EtherNet/IP streamlines control and information flow, offering the best pathway to a single network architecture (see Figure 2). It uses the same Ethernet and TCP/IP protocol suite used for email, the Internet and other commercial applications, typically exceeding the real-time performance, resiliency and security of traditional field bus solutions. It also provides the bandwidth, expandability, open connectivity and global acceptance of standard Ethernet.

EtherNet/IP provides networking across the many control disciplines

Figure 2. EtherNet/IP provides networking across the many control disciplines and from the smallest devices into the enterprise — removing traditional boundaries.

Because EtherNet/IP uses readily available, off-the-shelf media and complies with IEEE 802.3/TCP/UDP/IP standards and conventions, IT professionals and engineers can collaborate easily to deploy and maintain security, reliability and quality of service within the enterprise and throughout the plant floor.

EtherNet/IP also uses common tools for both industrial and enterprise networks, plus standard industrial products such as Ethernet switches/routers/firewalls, IP cameras and IP telephony. As a result, manufacturers can take advantage of the ongoing advancements of standard Ethernet and TCP/IP technology, making EtherNet/IP a scalable, future-ready network architecture.

Rather than replacing obsolete networks every few years, manufacturers can make EtherNet/IP their industrial architecture foundation, easily building on the network to keep pace with emerging technologies.

“Ethernet applications, devices and services continue to proliferate in both the commercial and industrial space,” according to Craig Resnick, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group. “As EtherNet/IP uses standard Ethernet rather than a proprietary protocol, manufacturers can leverage these developments to gain the same ubiquity on the plant floor as Ethernet has in business-level applications."

Standardizing on EtherNet/IP

OEMs such as Cerutti and XCS Systems already are experiencing the benefits of EtherNet/IP. Cerutti leverages EtherNet/IP to eliminate multiple networks (see Figure 3). The company delivers flexographic machines used to publish magazines and newspapers worldwide.

OEM Cerutti uses a complete EtherNet/IP solution for its flexographic machines

Figure 3. OEM Cerutti uses a complete EtherNet/IP solution for its flexographic machines. EtherNet/IP supports the I/O, drives and HMI, which can be shared with the company’s IT resources and connected to the Web.

To address their broad portfolio of clients, Cerutti used a mix of seven different networks. Company leaders decided to simplify the operation and control of its machines by switching to a complete EtherNet/IP solution. Now its machines run on one unified network.

“EtherNet/IP supports the I/O, drives and the HMI, which can be shared with the company’s IT resources and connected to the Internet... for communications on a world scale,” says Paulo Di Santo, who led the project for Cerutti.

OEM XCS Systems specializes in high-speed process control in the packaging industry, principally with food and beverage applications. Using EtherNet/IP, the company integrated more than 160 motors and drives into a new can conveyor line, simplifying equipment design, configuration and commissioning, relying on a single network infrastructure for discrete and motion control.

“The EtherNet/IP network does all the interlocking between machines, improving machine synchronization,” explains Paul Croad, systems integrator at XCS. “It allows engineers to program any machine from anywhere in the line.”

Values Driving EtherNet/IP Adoption

By replacing a multi-tier networking strategy with one standard network architecture, OEMs can reduce engineering time, integration risks and total cost to design, develop and deliver machines. Manufacturers, meanwhile, are choosing EtherNet/IP as it provides system-wide high performance, streamlined communication and is widely established. Behind its success are several key technical differences. For example:

  • One Standard Network: EtherNet/IP is capable of doing safety, motion, process and endless other applications. Other networks require multiple versions, complex rules and additional hardware to accomplish this.
  • Design Flexibility: EtherNet/IP offers all the design options from commercial Ethernet to meet your application needs. For example, many users divide a large network into smaller segments. EtherNet/IP supports this segmentation and provides seamless data transfers across the network. Other networks do not easily permit routing of high performance information between networks such as for real time data logging, first-fault detection and machine interlocking.

EtherNet/IP Today and Tomorrow
EtherNet/IP helps enable a simple network architecture and offers a clear migration strategy for users looking to future-proof their network choice. It also offers the best pathway to a converged network architecture, helping manufacturers streamline control and information flow to achieve plant wide optimization.

In addition, EtherNet/IP’s leverage of commercial and business technologies helps manufacturers solve tomorrow’s business problems with innovation and agility.

To learn more about the benefits of EtherNet/IP, sign up for the Industrial IP Advantage industrial network design training here