Network organization pushes industrial Ethernet for process automation, machine integration

Control Engineering Europe: At Hannover Fair 2013, ODVA continues on the path of collaboration and partnership with Cisco, Endress+Hauser, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, and others to accelerate adoption of industrial Ethernet in process automation. A machine information integration initiative was discussed.


At Hannover Messe 2013, ODVA launched an initiative for process automation – in cooperation with ODVA members including Cisco Systems, Endress+Hauser, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric – in a bid to accelerate adoption of industrial Ethernet in process automation. ODVA also discussed a machine information integration initiative, according to Control Engineering Europe reports.

Ethernet for process control

The process initiative will focus on providing new opportunities for integration improvements, optimized network architecture and increased return on investment (ROI).

Commenting on the initiative, Catherine Voss, executive director of ODVA said: “Based on ODVA’s industrial EtherNet/IP technology, the results of this initiative will provide end users with more choices to deploy a complete Ethernet solution for process automation, starting with connectivity down to the field level and, in the longer term, expanding to include the full spectrum of process automation needs, including safety, explosion protection, long distances and extensive diagnostic coverage.

Through this initiative, ODVA will explore and adopt technology enhancements to ODVA’s EtherNet/IP and Common Industrial Protocol technologies to optimize these technologies for the needs of process automation.

M2M information exchange

Also discussed at Hannover Messe was the formation of a new special interest group for machine information to develop standards for the exchange of information between machines, and between machines and supervisory systems. Machine to machine (M2M) information exchange is of increasing importance for machine builders, system integrators, and end users.

“The resulting standards will provide data models and network services to optimize the exchange of machine information for purposes such as production, energy, or condition monitoring, business intelligence, batch and recipe management, and multi-machine line control,” said Voss.

The main focus of the group will be the development of data models for logical grouping of machine attributes along with services necessary for exchange of the data between machines and other machines or supervisory systems. To simplify communication between heterogeneous systems using EtherNet/IP and CIP, Sercos III, and/or OPC UA, whenever possible the approach will be to adopt protocol neutral data models which can be adapted to any of the three technologies.

“Without such standard reporting methods and tools, manufacturers must rely on customized, and often proprietary, solutions in order to exchange machine information across systems or transmit data back and forth with the machine,” said Voss.

The machinery initiative was first announced in 2011 and was the result of several collaborations, including the increased participation of Bosch Rexroth, as a principal member of ODVA.

“The initiative first bedded out a vision for an open, interoperable framework in an environment characterized by heterogeneous systems,” said Voss. “We imagined that the machinery environment would include Sercos, EtherNet/IP and OPC UA systems, and it would be good if they could all work together.

“We have members that share that vision so, in 2012, we were able to define a blended infrastructure that would allow EtherNet/IP and Sercos 3 devices to be used on the same physical infrastructure to support machinery connectivity. Next, we conducted a technical investigation with principal members and alliance partners of OPC Foundation and Sercos to identify potential areas where we could work to support the use of cases for machine communication including machine supervisory communication and machine-to-machine communication.

“We are now forming the special interest group for machinery information. Initial work within this group will focus on machine supervisory communication. The deliverables from the initial phase of work are expected to include data models for energy, condition monitoring in the machine context. It is hoped that we can then harmonize data models between CIP and Sercos and map the harmonized data models, in a consistent manner, to OPC UA.”

- Suzanne Gill is editor of Control Engineering Europe; this article appeared on on April 17, 2013, and was edited for CFE Media by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering,


Article from Control Engineering Europe: ODVA continues on the path of collaboration and partnership

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