Rockwell, Omron, Sick developing safety networking standard

Deerfield Beach, FL-To help safety technologies serve in an open, interoperable network environment, three automation and machine safety companies announced Oct. 2 that they're jointly developing an open protocol for safety communications. The three firms unveiled their project at the Open DeviceNet Vendor Assocation's (ODVA, Boca Raton, FL) Global Networks 2002 meeting and conference.


Deerfield Beach, FL— To help safety technologies serve in an open, interoperable network environment, three automation and machine safety companies announced Oct. 2 that they're jointly developing an open protocol for safety communications. The three firms unveiled their project at the Open DeviceNet Vendor Assocation 's (ODVA, Boca Raton, FL) Global Networks 2002 meeting and conference.

Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee, WI), Omron Corp. Sick AG (Waldkirch, Germany) will base the new protocol, "CIP Safety," on the existing Control and Information Protocol (CIP) found in the existing DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP protocols. CIP Safety will become part of ODVA's specifications and initially run over DeviceNet. Omron is the parent company of Omron Electronics LLC (Schaumburg, IL).

CIP Safety already has received concept approval from TÜV Rheinland Berlin Brandenburg

Rockwell, Omron and Sick, all ODVA members, add that users' requirements helped them recognize the need for an open, interoperable safety protocol that was compatible with existing industrial networks. So, they began cooperating on a safety protocol, based on an extension to the CIP protocol. They add that ODVA has embraced the three firms' effort to implement CIP Safety.

"CIP Safety is another example of how ODVA brings together competitive vendors worldwide, and helps them work together to address the needs of industry," says Katherine Voss, ODVA's executive director. "CIP Safety will allow us to build on the success of DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP and the investments that customers have made."

Consisting of an extension to the existing CIP protocol, CIP Safety will allow both standard and safety devices to operate on the same network. It will also allow safety devices to seamlessly communicate across other CIP-based standard networks, such as DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP networks, to other safety devices with no additional programming.

The trio adds that this unique routing feature, which is not available today for safety com-munications, will be realized without the need for expensive safety specific hardware, such as specialized gateways and bridges. Additional benefits of this new approach include network design flexibility; easier training and maintenance; and a common view of both standard and safety networked devices.

CIP Safety's first implementation will be over DeviceNet, and will provide failsafe com-munication between nodes, such as safety input/output blocks, safety interlock switches, safety light curtains and safety PLCs. As an open standard, CIP Safety is designed for use in safety applications up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 according to IEC 61508 standards. Use of CIP Safety will provide customers with a breadth of products from multiple vendors that work together. In addition, customers will have tremendous flexibility in network architecture design and installation cost savings.

The protocol's CIP foundation is the key to advanced communication and integration between networks. CIP builds in a standard set of services for control, configuration and data collection, and provides benefits such as: media independence; fully defined device profiles; control services; multiple data exchange options; seamless, multi-hop routing; and producer/consumer services. As a media independent protocol, vendors will be able to apply it to other CIP-based networks such as EtherNet/IP.

TÜV's concept approval was the first step in CIP Safety's development. When completed and certified by TÜV, this open specification for CIP Safety will be owned and managed by ODVA. The companies' next step will be submission for approval of a System Requirements Specification, for implementing CIPSafety on DeviceNet. The companies expect to introduce the first DeviceNet Safety solutions in 2004.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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