Ethernet networking: Sandhoefner joins packaging workgroup board of directors

At the OMAC user group conference in Florida in early 2007, Markus Sandhoefner, sales manager with B&R Industrial Automation Corp. joined Siemens’ Bill Henderson as a technology provider representative to the board of directors of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW).


Atlanta, GA —At the OMAC user group conference in Florida in early 2007, Markus Sandhoefner, sales manager with B&R Industrial Automation Corp. joined Siemens’ Bill Henderson as a technology provider representative to the board of directors of the OMAC Packaging Workgroup (OPW). Other members of the OPW Executive Committee include Rick VanDyke (Frito Lay), Mike Lamping (Procter & Gamble) and Garth Basson (SABMiller) on the user side, and Colin Warnes (ADCO) and Wolfgang Buchkremer (KHS) representing machine builders. Sandhoefner has Ethernet Powerlink, a now-independent protocol introduced by B&R in 2001, in mind as a way to simplify packaging machine communications.

B&R Industrial Automation Corp . has been supporting the OMAC Users Group especially the OMAC packaging workgroups PackConnect and PackSoft since May 2003. The PackSoft workgroup defines the basic requirements of general motion control needed for packaging applications. In this regard, B&R has integrated PLCopen Function Blocks which are among the main focal points of the PackSoft team. The PackConnect workgroup defines the control and architecture platforms and connectivity requirements for packaging automation systems.

“With numerous members of the packaging industry, OMAC plays a vital role with regards to the standardization of technology for innovative packaging solutions. I am excited to further drive this initiative,” says Sandhoefner. “B&R’s Ethernet Powerlink technology could greatly contribute to the simplification of communication interfaces between controls, I/Os, HMI and servo drives.”

According to B&R, more than 210,000 Ethernet Powerlink (EPL) nodes are in use in more than 28,000 series production machines around the world. B&R introduced the technology at the end of 2001, and current implementations have reached 100ased on the ETHERNET Powerlink real-time protocol

Sondhoefner says B&R’s decision to open the Ethernet Powerlink technology to the public “enhances the progress of standardization and interoperability for all communication tasks. It is therefore one of my goals as board member of the OMAC packaging workgroup to include Ethernet based deterministic, real-time communication systems in future OMAC guidelines.”

The OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controls) Users Group was formed in 1994 to create an organization through which end users, OEM’s and technology providers and integrators can work together. The main objective of the OMAC users group is to establish open architectures and components that allow “interoperability” in order to provide the end user with the most efficient solution for their machine requirements. The main tasks of the board members of the OPW, therefore, include approving OMAC OPW guidelines, setting targets and strategies, defining and reviewing the objectives for the OPW each year.

—Edited by Renee Robbins, editorial director, Control Engineering Weekly News
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