Industrial networking: One network for full enterprise connectivity

05/24/2013


Industrial networks

ctl1306-f4-networks-Turck-x2-Factory-Automation-w.jpgWith the migration away from traditional point-to-point fieldbus, advanced networking architecture ensures connectivity, collaboration, and integration from the device level to enterprise business systeWhile industrial networking is a powerful tool for improving operations, it is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution. There are several considerations, such as environment, traffic, security, and cabling, that must be taken into account before implementing the appropriate solution for individual networking needs.

With Ethernet originally being created for the office environment, it is crucial that users consider their environmental conditions when determining what type of cabling is needed. Industrial Ethernet cabling is designed to meet and exceed the requirements of industrial applications, and the environmental conditions will generally determine the type of cordset used. Cordsets are expected to perform in applications that involve everything including welding, high-flex robotics, washdown, or hygienic conditions. Cordsets must be designed to withstand shock and vibration, crushing and pulling, bending or twisting, dust and dirt, water, oils, chemicals, corrosive gases, or temperature extremes.

Along with the environmental considerations, industrial networks must be able to manage plant traffic and interface with existing systems. Traffic ranges from data transfers to mission critical transmissions, and being able to distinguish between the two, identifying high-priority traffic to ensure it continues to operate efficiently. Additionally, since many processes deal with sensitive information, manufacturers should use security mechanisms to avoid outside intrusion and protect internal communications.

Networks are layered and require filtering to allow information to pass through a system based on its source, application, and destination. Filtering can be done based on various parameters, such as IP address, port type, and physical parameters. Additionally, establishing network redundancy is also important because if a problem occurs, an alternate link will ensure production is back online automatically, preventing lost information.

Before implementation, plant managers need to consider network communications signal requirements, including CAT 5, 5e, 6, 6A and 7; two-pair or four-pair cabling; D-code or X-code cordsets; solid or stranded cabling; and shielded or unshielded cabling. This will enable users to select an appropriate solution.

Plant-floor networking

As demand grows and industries become more competitive, operation data must travel across greater distances, at faster speeds, and in larger quantities. Due to this, maintaining reliable enterprise connectivity is necessary for continued overall production. Therefore, protocols connecting the office with the plant floor must offer seamless interoperability among manufacturing enterprise networks. Implementing a complete, end-to-end networking solution provides a wide range of benefits, including a lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO), a higher return on investment (ROI) due to real-time visibility and flexibility, reduced network maintenance, and decreased labor costs.

When moving the network from the back office to the factory floor, manufacturers require high-level reliability and security, with sophisticated features that allow constant access to critical production information. The advances offered with industrial networking protocols now enable one, high-quality network that can control an entire plant operation.

By providing comprehensive integration with administrative-, control-, and device-level management, information moves freely throughout the entire enterprise, providing unparalleled visibility. This degree of simplistic, complete information sharing ensures a more seamless production by automatically updating inventory information, distribution data, and real-time status updates.

Additionally, deploying one factory-wide network eliminates excess costs, maintenance requirements, and time-consuming installations. By monitoring every aspect of product, industrial networking can work to identify any issues faster to minimize downtime and prevent costly lost production.

- Karie Daudt is director of marketing for Turck. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)cfemedia.com.

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Anonymous , 11/07/13 02:56 AM:

I personally agree that having access to data (process data as well as equipment health and instrument health etc.) is key to improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability since it can increase product quality, throughput, and process availability as well as reduce cost of operation & maintenance.

I also agree with digital communication networks are required to achieve this. I would personally also like to add that this digital networking has to start from the very “first meter”; at the sensors and actuators. That is, we cannot limit ourselves using point-to-point hardwired 4-20 mA and on/off signals for sensors and actuators. Instead we should go “digital everywhere” using digital communication networks also to connect transmitters, analyzers, control valve positioners, on/off valves, electric actuators and the like at the lowest level to get intelligence in every device. This enables not only real-time digital closed loop control, but also access to diagnostics etc. from the field instruments:
http://www.eddl.org/DeviceManagement/Pages/DeviceDiagnostics.aspx

Therefore we have to be careful with the term “fieldbus” because there are two very distinct types of “fieldbus”: H1 fieldbus and H2 fieldbus.

“H2 fieldbus” is used at level 1-1/2 of the Purdue reference model to connect variable speed drives, motor starters, MCC, small package unit PLCs, and wireless gateways etc. to the main DCS control system. The fieldbus protocols traditionally used are DeviceNet, Modbus/RTU, and PROFIBUS which correspond to the new industrial Ethernet variants of these protocols: EtherNet/IP, Modbus/TCP, and PROFINET. Indeed there appears to be a migration away from the “H2” fieldbus towards their industrial Ethernet variants at this level.

However, “H1 fieldbus” is a different story. H1 is used at level 1 of the Purdue reference model. Industrial Ethernet is not taking the place of H1 fieldbus. This is why we have to explicitly make the difference between H2 and H1. H1 fieldbus is used for devices which are not available in an industrial Ethernet version. These are devices which traditionally use 4-20 mA and on/off signals, but the use of H1 digital commutation is on the rise. These include for example pressure transmitter, temperature transmitter, level transmitter, interface level transmitter, vortex flow meter, pH analyzer, conductivity analyzer, amperometric analyzer, control valve positioner, and on/off valve etc. As you can see, the devices connected by H1 fieldbus are quite different from those that connect using Industrial Ethernet. That is, H1 fieldbus and industrial Ethernet complement each other; together they cover all the devices around the plant. Indeed the H1 fieldbus at level 1 of the Purdue reference model enables access to more data from a massive amount of field instruments which in turn drives faster growth of industrial Ethernet at level 1-1/2 and above to get this data to the user.

Also, traditional fieldbus is not point-to-point. Traditional fieldbus is a bus topology. Point-to-point hardwiring is only used for 4-20 mA and on/off signals.
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