Industrial Ethernet: Future-proof, rugged
Specialized fieldbus systems were used for simplified networking of machine drives, I/O, PLCs and other devices, but fast Ethernet technology replaces these systems, and offers certain advantages.
Specialized fieldbus systems were used for simplified networking of machine drives, I/O, PLCs and other devices, but fast Ethernet technology replaces these systems, and offers a number of advantages:
- Ethernet is a recognized, future-proof technology;
- Offers high-speed data throughput 10 to 100 times faster than fieldbus solutions;
- Use of standard components (CAT5e hardened cabling, connectors, etc.) eliminates more costly proprietary technology, offers cost-effective, widely available products;
- Flexible, compatible automation solutions based on a global standard; and
- Enables consistent IT implementation stretching from the office to the machine level.
While these advantages are important, enabling Ethernet to provide high throughput and low costs, it is not designed to provide deterministic, real-time communications and synchronization of machine axes and devices. Basic I/O control over Ethernet is relatively straightforward; efficient coordinated motion control is not.
Scott Hibbard is vice president technology, Bosch Rexroth Corp.
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