Manufacturing convergence: IT, Ethernet drive integration, say Rockwell Automation, Cisco

Milwaukee, WI—Providing a guide for using standard Ethernet technologies in IT and integrated manufacturing, Rockwell Automation released resources for “Reference Architectures for the manufacturing environment with Cisco. The Reference Architectures include design guides, white papers, and educational seminars to address the technical and cultural convergence of manufacturing and IT.


Milwaukee, WI —Providing a

guide for using standard Ethernet technologies in IT and integrated manufacturing


Rockwell Automation

released resources for “Reference Architectures for the manufacturing environment with Cisco . The "Reference Architectures" guide includes design tips, white papers, and educational seminars to address the technical and cultural convergence of manufacturing and IT.

The guide continues

prior Rockwell Automation and Cisco efforts on reference architectures

discussed in April.

The new resources illustrate the use of standard Ethernet technologies in IT and integrated manufacturing, including discrete, motion, process, batch, drive, and safety applications, to help customers establish secure information access on the manufacturing floor and across the enterprise.

Reference architectures, part of an ongoing collaboration initiative between Rockwell Automation and Cisco, offer detailed designs and best practices implementation guidance for plant-wide or enterprise-wide architecture, the companies say. They bring together relevant applications, contemporary technologies, and design principles to decrease implementation costs and eliminate guesswork related to deploying technology in manufacturing. An advisory council, comprising customers of both companies, identified reference architectures as key to facilitating better collaboration between production operations and enterprise IT.

As part of the first phase of the documents, the Design and Implementation Guide is based on Cisco’s “Ethernet to the Factory” solution and the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture. It outlines recommendations for implementing a cell/area zone architecture and describes design considerations for high availability, the companies say, sharing best practices for security, IP addressing, and other considerations for designing automation networks and integrating within the enterprise to achieve greater visibility, better data integration, reduced costs, and simplified management.

“The plant floor holds critical data that needs to be connected to enterprise business systems for real-time production optimization and improved supply chain capabilities,” said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president, Rockwell Automation. “The technology is there in the form of EtherNet/IP and our software solutions, and Rockwell Automation and Cisco are committed to helping our joint customers use that technology to its fullest potential.”

Harry Forbes, senior analyst at

ARC Advisory Group

weighed in: “With this implementation guide, for the first time, IT and manufacturing professionals can share a common document for planning a converged IP network including the factory floor and automation equipment. I advise manufacturing operations that use Cisco and/or EtherNet/IP to get this document and to provide feedback for future phases of this Cisco/Rockwell Automation initiative.”

The companies will continue to work with their customers to expand the Reference Architectures.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco also will hold a series of educational seminars later this year to help organizations understand best practices for manufacturing-IT network convergence.

See also, from Control Engineering :
Emerson, Cisco collaborate on wireless applications (October 2007)
Networking: Cisco, Rockwell partner on Ethernet‘reference architectures’ (April 2007)

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