Real-time Ethernet Applications

Seeing is believing, so they say. Perhaps these applications of Ethernet will provide comfort that Ethernet protocols can be used in real-time applications. Read on, then go online with this article to link to more details, applications, and photos. Texo Industries, EtherNet/IP Italy-based Texo Industries streamlined print-and-cut operations on its Excalibur rotary die cutter and printing line.


Engineering-Driven Ethernet
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Seeing is believing, so they say. Perhaps these applications of Ethernet will provide comfort that Ethernet protocols can be used in real-time applications. Read on, then go online with this article to link to more Ethernet details, applications, and photos .

Texo Industries, EtherNet/IP

SERCOS III Ethernet protocol helps control subsystems and devices on Rovema packaging machines: Get details online.
SERCOS III Ethernet protocol helps control subsystems and devices on Rovema packaging machines.

Italy-based Texo Industries streamlined print-and-cut operations on its Excalibur rotary die cutter and printing line. The company faces challenges to meet market demands for increasingly refined and modern boxes that reinforce product quality.

Under its previous system, the 29-axis machine that comprised the die cutter and printing line took about 35 seconds to be synchronized on start-up. An operator order to adjust the parameters took two seconds to fulfill. To adjust parameters more quickly, Texo sought to simplify information exchange at the control level. The machine is composed of modules that play specific roles, such as introducing the cardboard, printing, drying or die cutting. Measuring up to 3 meters high and 5 meters wide, the module slides along special tracks to allow the operator to insert dies for the new print job. Numerous cables complicate the process, requiring disconnection and reconnection each time. To streamline operations, Texo installed a SLC 500 series programmable logic controller (PLC) from Rockwell Automation in the machine; all communications take place via three pairs of cables, thereby reducing set-up times.

Texo replaced its DH-485 network with EtherNet/IP to further reduce set up time and attained faster transmission of adjustments during machine operation. EtherNet/IP helped simplified information exchange with the control level and can adjust parameters in 0.3 seconds, six times faster than previously. The machine performs the set-up process electronically; the operator only has to physically replace printing dies. Once the machine is set up, it operates at 10,500 characters per minute.

Ilapak, Ethernet Powerlink, Linux

Ilapak Group is a manufacturer of industrial wrapping machinery using flexible wrapping materials for food and non-food applications. Claudio Machiavelli, software engineering supervisor at Ilapak’s headquarters in Lugano, Italy, leads the company’s “Phoenix” project — a platform based on a new industrial PC with a Linux operating system, B&R Industrial Automation modular I/Os connections, brushless motors and drives, and Ethernet Powerlink protocol.

Phoenix project offers digital control technology, standard automation components, reduced hardware costs, fewer components, and less labor and assembly. Diagnostics capabilities decrease service time. B&R Automation helped with the new platform and existing lines using “standard Powerlink protocol, which is set by a consortium of many companies,” Machiavelli says. Product breadth and modularity allowed design and assembly of different configurations in less time. A B&R X20 modular I/O system replaces a custom electronic remote I/O (CAN module). The system is more compact, easier to install and has self-guided access for troubleshooting. It also takes less cabling inside the machine and up to 240 modules. Powerlink protocol communicates between I/O points and the controller with higher throughput data transfer compared to the previous CAN protocol, says Machiavelli.

Related links and ONLINE extra on industrial Ethernet
More from the October 2008 Control Engineering supplement on Engineering-Drive Ethernet:
-Real-time Ethernet Applications (this article)

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Industrial Ethernet applications in real time with SERCOS III, EtherCAT
-SERCOS III Ethernet protocol has replaced the traditional network for direct control of I/O connections, monitoring subsystems, and other field bus devices on Rovema packaging machines. The open, standardized SERCOS III interface gives Rovema a universal drive and automation interface compatible with drives and devices from many manufacturers.
-Popcorn bags open better with EtherCAT, Beckhoff Automation:

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