Ethernet hardware: Switches and more

A sampling of more than a dozen recent industrial Ethernet hardware introductions follow, along with other Ethernet information. A May 2008 Product Research article looks at Ethernet protocols. 



May issue of Control Engineering has a Product Research article that looks at who is leading among Ethernet protocols used in industrial applications, along with information about the leading protocols and survey respondent advice. Since the article looks only at protocols, a sampling of recent industrial Ethernet hardware follows.
Recently introduced Ethernet products and information follows from Acromag, AutomationDirect, Cisco, Electro Standard Laboratories, Ethernet Direct, GarrettCom, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Harting, Hirschmann, HMS, Lantronix, Lumberg Automation, Molex, Moore Industries-International Inc., Moxa, N-Tron, Opto 22, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, Turck, Venture Development Corp., and Weidmuller.
Acromag 989EN modules provide an isolated Ethernet interface for any input/output mix of up to 16 discrete signals. Inputs sense status of dry contacts, switches, power supplies, and dc logic. Industrial-grade units have eight 32-bit pulse counters with timers, alarms, and non-volatile memory for metering, totalizing, and low-frequency periodic measurement. Outputs control solid-state switching of lamps, horns, and other devices.


AutomationDirect RT-CNFGKIT Ethernet Configuration Kit


, includes a 5-port 10BaseT Ethernet switch, 4 straight-through cables, 1 crossover cable (the cables are at least 5 ft in length). A great convenience system configuring, demonstration systems, or basic control projects using Ethernet. Cisco provides industrial Ethernet resources , including webcasts, podcasts, and literature on related products, services, and applications, including cooperation with Rockwell Automation.

Electro Standards Laboratories


(ESL), Cranston, RI, announced its new Model 7345 RJ45 100-BASE-T A/B Switch with Remote Serial Control. It is Cat 5 compliant, enables connection of a workstation or device between two other devices or networks, and switches all pins of the RJ45 interface. All switched signals are passed via copper contact relays that maintain their position and continuity even in the event of a power loss or failure. It is controlled via front panel pushbutton or remote serial port. The front panel pushbutton may be locked out using remote commands. Ethernet Direct : Managed Workgroup Switches for Control Room Applications. Ethernet Direct offers SNMP managed switches which have 24 ports of 10/100/1000 TX at prices starting at $659. This switch also contains 4 SFP (Small Form-Factor Pluggable) ports that can allow mixing single-mode or multi-mode fiber for greater flexibility. These are full SNMP managed switches that provide the same quality and reliability as the company’s industrial models. That is less than $28 a port for managed Gigabit connections. These switches are intended for the control room environment but can be used in production areas of pharmaceutical, electronics or other light manufacturing plants. Not all applications require the -10



, in the library area of its Website, includes an

industrial Ethernet presentation


(4.5 MB pdf) that provides examples of companies that have “successfully embraced Ethernet in an industrial environment,” showing “that Ethernet is robust and durable enough.”

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms


announces Neternity RM981RC Gigabit Ethernet switch, which the company says is a cost-effective, high performance unmanaged switch for a broad range of applications where high performance and high reliability are important. The 6U VMEbus RM981RC is available in nine configurations, with build options specifying number (up to 24) and type (10/100/1000Base T, 1000BaseX or 1000Base SX) of ports, media (fiber, copper or both), front panel and conformal coating. “NETernity Gigabit Ethernet switches bring cost-effective, high-speed network connectivity to a wide range of challenging applications,” said Rubin Dhillon, the company’s communications product manager. “We continue to develop embedded switches that deliver the performance, port density, features and form factors that our commercial, industrial, and defense customers request.” It delivers L-2 wire-speed Gigabit Ethernet switching, and is available as either a single slot (12-port) or dual slot (24-port) solution. Features include auto address learning, auto address aging and support for jumbo frames. Copper and fiber ports may be mixed in groups of four. It is RoHS-compliant.

Harting eCon 3011 media converter


: When the performance of electrical Ethernet data transmission bumps up against its limits, migration to optical fiber can extend the range and improve EMC immunity. The Harting eCon 3011 allows users to replace optical fiber with twisted pair or vice versa. It is designed for industrial environments, supports fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s) and power over Ethernet, and performs signal conversion between shielded twisted pair cable and fiber optic cable (multimode or single mode). In switch mode, the eCon 3011 media converter works in store and forward switching mode similar to an unmanaged Ethernet switch. In converter mode, the eCon 3011 media converter runs at 100 Mbit/s (full duplex) with minimal latency.



is offering its annual technology seminar on May 20-23, allowing attendees to deepen their networking knowledge and become more proficient in Ethernet. The sessions are intended to help control engineers and plant personnel better implement, commission and maintain their Ethernet networks. The sessions arealso designed with specifiers and consultants in mind so that they may better understand the specific requirements of Ethernet in industrial and mission-critical environments.

HMS Industrial Networks


, a provider of Ethernet and other industrial network components,

Lantronix offers device and Ethernet tutorials


in its learning center. Topics include the basics, adding speed, sharing devices, fast Ethernet, and others.

Lumberg Automation


offers new Ethernet/IP interface modules, adding to its Industrial Ethernet product offering. The modules provide for a seamless IP 68 connection from outside the control panel to the device and from inside the control panel to an Ethernet Switch. Lumberg Automation is a Belden Co.

Molex Inc


. added EtherNet/IP to the industrial protocols supported through its Classic 60mm wide family of BradControl I/O modules.

Moore Industries-International Inc.


has continuously run the Moore Industries NET Concentrator System (NCS) data acquisition system at temperatures around the boiling point of water for more than three years in an environmental chamber. “The only problem we’ve found so far is the labels are turning brown from the continuous, intense heat,” reports Fred Adt, director of quality assurance. “We’ve taken care of that problem by using more heat-resistant labels in new products.” The NCS is equipped with several modules, including an EIM (Ethernet Interface Module), among others; the tests are intended to prove the products, rated -40 °C to +85 °C, for long-term use in severe operating conditions, such as in the Middle East, in unheated and non-air conditioned enclosures. Moore Products provides details about mean time between failures and the highly accelerated life test (HALT) concept. In about two more years, “We intend to reach 300,000 hours, and maybe beyond,” said Adt in February.

Moxa says ABB Industrial IT has certified


the Moxa line of EDS series industrial Ethernet switches, making Moxa among a handful of industrial Ethernet switch manufacturers granted certification under the Industrial IT enabling program. In other news, Moxa introduced the EDS-728, a new entry into their modular Ethernet switch series that supports up to four Gigabit ports, 24 Fast Ethernet ports, and advanced network control. EDS-728 is designed for redundant Gigabit network backbones and uses a modular configuration to provide a high degree of flexibility for network expansion. EDS-728 also features industrial-grade construction, a console port for automatic configuration backup, and an angled LED troubleshooting panel for convenient viewing from horizontal and vertical orientations.

EDS-line of Ethernet switches


is available.

N-Tron 700 Series Industrial Ethernet switches


offer “advanced management and monitoring features, industrially hardened construction, and a space saving package all at a very affordable price,” company says. The 708TX Series provides eight RJ-45 copper ports, while the 708FX2 provides six RJ-45 copper ports and two 100BaseFX fiber ports. Operating temperature is -40

Opto 22


has many Ethernet-enabled products including the industrially hardened OptoTerminal-G70 with standard TCP/IP Ethernet connectivity, mentioned in the April 25



posting, “Opto’s Video Crew Travels to the East Coast.” The blog (with photos) mentions Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA, which uses Opto 22 hardware and software to control a huge train set and related elements to “show the kids what engineering can do!”

Phoenix Contact power-over-Ethernet


(PoE) modules make it quick and inexpensive to power wireless LAN access points, Ethernet hubs, and other devices where supplying power separately would be inconvenient. FL IF 2PSE-F module offers two PoE ports for the modular managed swich. FL PSE 2TX converts two standard Ethernet ports to PoE ports, generating 48 V power from a 24 V dc connection, and plug-and-play without configuration.



Energy & Automation offers many Ethernet options, including the Industrial Ethernet Entry Level Scalance X-005 unmanaged switch, described as a low-cost solution for creating small star or line topologies with switching functionality.



: BL67 Ethernet gateways for Profinet systems. Profinet is the fastest industrial Ethernet I/O network available and the only one that can successfully accomplish a line topology, Turck says, making it suitable for long conveyor systems. Turck’s BL67 system consists of a gateway, base modules, and electronic modules. It is IP67 rated for field installations. I/O modules are configured independently of the fieldbus protocol, and up to 32 I/O modules may be connected to a gateway, delivering up to 512 digital I/O points or 128 analog channels on a single system. BL67 gateways are currently available for DeviceNet, Profibus-DP, CANopen, Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP. BL67 systems use Turck’s free I/Oassistant software package for configuration, parameter set-up, documentation, commissioning and diagnostic functions for on/offline use.

Venture Development Corp


. says that despite widespread adoption by only a handful of applications, power over Ethernet port count continues to grow. In the recently published third edition of “Power Over Ethernet: Global Market Opportunity Analysis,” VDC found that shipments of PoE-enabled switch ports totaled approximately 47 million units in 2007. VDC expects PoE-enabled port shipments to grow at almost double the rate of overall Ethernet port shipments and reach more than 130 million by 2012. The number of PoE ports shipped to date far exceeds the number of shipped powered devices (PDs). This can be attributed to the continuing education of IT departments and their increasing awareness of the benefits of PoE. As a result, network infrastructure capital spending includes allowances for PoE feature sets. This strategy allows for greater flexibility in the budgets and schedules required to deploy PoE VoIP phones, WAPs and other PDs without additional hardware upgrades. Enterprises will also be able to add emerging applications, such as security and building control devices, with little additional effort. Lower costs, flexibility, reliability, and control over power consumption result from PoE’s ability to deliver power and data over the same cable, VDC says.



offers new industrial Ethernet connectors using Weidmuller Steadytec technology. The new line of robust plug-in connectors is 10 gigabit-capable, modular and provides universal IP67 solutions for copper and fiber optic cabling across all Ethernet standards. Connector plug housings and bulkhead housings are available in EtherNet/IP, Ethernet TCP/IP and Profinet versions. In related news, Weidmuller also introduced a new series of Class 1, Div. 2 approved unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches and media converters — all in new compact housings for increased design and installation flexibility. New WaveLine series products come in innovative new compact housings that provide a substantially increased level of design and installation flexibility. They enable users to quickly and easily establish a simple link between field devices and their Ethernet network. The new switches feature housings of only 22.5mm or 45mm wide, making them the slimmest units available, company says. New port configurations, RJ45 copper and fiber optic connections add application flexibility.Also read:

Industrial gateways: Tutorial and products


Industrial Ethernet: New switches




Who Puts the 'Industrial’ in Ethernet?



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