More connectivity: Controllers, Ethernet, serial, DeviceNet, diagnostics, safety

Woodhead Industries, a division of Molex Inc., made recent announcements likely to increase connectivity. These include technology to connect Allen-Bradley ControlLogix from Rockwell Automation to Ethernet and serial networks; an SST interface card technology to extend DeviceNet control over Ethernet; BradCommunications diagnostic tools expand to include NetDoctor Monitor DeviceNet continuously and access information remotely using Ethernet; and assembly of a safety networks integration team.

12/06/2007


Woodhead Industries , a division of Molex Inc ., made recent announcements likely to increase connectivity. These include technology to connect Allen-Bradley ControlLogix from Rockwell Automation to Ethernet and serial networks; BradCommunications Remote DeviceNet Scanner’s use of an SST interface card technology to extend DeviceNet control over Ethernet; BradCommunications diagnostic tools expand to include NetDoctor Monitor DeviceNet continuously and access information remotely using Ethernet; and assembly of a safety networks integration team.
BradCommunications SST Modbus and Modbus TCP network interface modules provide a fast and easy way to connect Modbus networks to the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix system, from Rockwell Automation. When the ControlLogix processor combines with the SST module, users benefit by quickly and easily being able to communicate with Modbus and Modbus TCP in a reliable and effective manner, Molex says. Two modules are available, for different network needs. The SST modules act as input / output (I/O) modules and share I/O process data directly with the ControlLogix processor’s memory without the need to write any ladder logic. Applications include food processing, mining, building automation, petrochemical and manufacturing industries.
BradCommunications SST Remote DeviceNet Scanner: Traditionally when running a PC control application, one PC installed with one network interface card was required for each DeviceNet network. With the BradCommunications SST Remote DeviceNet Scanner (SST-EDN-1), a PC for each network is no longer required. The SST Remote DeviceNet Scanner controls I/O devices connected to a DeviceNet network without a local PC. DIN rail mountable, up to 16 SST Remote DeviceNet Scanners can be connected to a PC over Ethernet. The PC allows users to remotely access diagnostic information on the SST Remote DeviceNet Scanner and the DeviceNet network.
BradCommunications NetDoctor is a passive device that continuously monitors a DeviceNet or CAN network and stores the information as OPC status tags on an HMI display over Ethernet. The information can also be accessed through a DLL interface or read directly by an EtherNet/IP master. The NetDoctor provides extremely accurate measurements of the network parameters using high-speed sampling, company says. By storing a baseline measurement of a “good” network, it can predict imminent failures on individual devices. Device measurements can be used in such a way, that when an OPC status tag is analyzed and is found to be outside the acceptable limits, steps can be taken to replace the device prior to its causing any downtime. The NetDoctor can be used to diagnose current faults on a non-functioning network through the measurement of hundreds of network parameters. This can minimize downtime by pinpointing the node or location of the fault. NetDoctor can stream waveforms in advanced mode as a remote oscilloscope. Data can also be stored to historian software for future analysis. This helps companies involved with batching applications including pharmaceutical, food and beverage. If a problem occurs with a specific batch, historical data can be viewed to see if any network problems occurred during the same time frame. This allows the company to make any necessary adjustments to prevent re-occurrences from happening in the future.
Woodhead Industries assembles Safety Networks Integration team. Manufacturing facilities seek ways to streamline operations, including lowering costs and maintaining production uptime. With the introduction of Intelligent Safety Networks (ISN), manufacturers are now investigating how to implement them, including the availability of compatible devices and components. ISNs bring multiple advantages over traditional separate control and safety networks. Infrastructure costs are significantly reduced by combining the wiring of the control and safety networks into one. Production downtime is decreased through better zone control and the elimination of false triggers in the safety zone. Integrating of control and safety code allows production lines to continue to flow in specific locations even when other areas may be shut down. Equipment and workers can be placed in smaller defined areas without sacrificing safety because the system is aware in real time of the status of the process.
Dean Donnelly, product marketing manager, industrial networks, says the team will focus on helping device/component manufacturers take their products through various steps (product development through to certification) required for use on an ISN system. The company offers protocol stacks, consulting services and product design as well as components and infrastructure products (cabling, I/O, connectors). Products and services allow the device / component manufacturer to quickly bring products to market.
Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief
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