Same 50 faults, just never in the same order? Try CIP Sync

The ODVA's time synchronization extension to Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) accurately traces a sequence of failures to determine a root cause across Ethernet networks.  


Traditional alarming systems record and log the time of failures in serial order based on when the HMI receives the data. That means alarms triggered 100 milliseconds after the root cause could get time stamped as occurring before the root cause, simply because the data was received first.

It’s 3 a.m., and, for the second time today, line four has experienced a major shutdown in your manufacturing production line. The results are paper jams in subassemblies one and two, a torn web in two places, and 100 parts in process that need to be scrapped. Even worse, machines are halted, motion controls aren't moving because glue gun three is dumping adhesive onto the belt because the machine fault is on top of an on-position for the gun — in the precise spot that the web broke.
You’re in bed when the third-shift production manager calls. The restart procedure and glue cleanup take about an hour, while upstream lines that feed material into line four have accumulated inventory stacked on the floor waiting to be processed. Downstream production, of course,
Tos to show the same faults in a different order each time. It always reports the same 50 faults, just never in the same order.  

Limits of traditional
All of the faults occur in such rapid succession, you just can’t resolve which came first. You’ve tried to adjust all of the clocks in your architecture manually. You‘ve even implemented a Network Time Protocol (NTP) interface to the controllers in an attempt to increase the time stamps’ accuracy. But, these events occurred only 10 to 20 milliseconds apart, and the NTP system cannot synchronize the controller clocks that closely. Moreover, the poll cycleon your alarm and event system interjects 250 milliseconds of error by itself.

Figuring out and addressing the root cause of the fault becomes critical in situations like this one. Unfortunately, the typical diagnostic system available today cannot easily identify the root cause of failures.

Traditional alarming systems record and log the time of failures in a serial order based on when the HMI receives the data. That means alarms triggered 100 milliseconds after the root cause could get time stamped as occurring before the root cause, simply because the data was received first.

CIP Sync, a time synchronization extension to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) managed by ODVA, can help solve this problem. CIP Sync forms the heart of the EtherNet/IP Time Synchronized Distributed Control approach for motion applications. Additionally, CIP Sync is based on and compliant with the IEEE 1588 Version 2 standard for a precision clock synchronization protocol for networked measurement and control systems. It allows for high-precision time synchronization so that I/O or controllers can provide very accurate first-fault detection.

CIP Sync provides a standard mechanism to set and synchronize the clocks on multiple controllers throughout the control architecture. Some components can be coordinated down to an accuracy of 100 nanoseconds. Additionally, optional global positioning system (GPS) interfaces help to make sure that a high level of accuracy can be obtained across geographically separated areas of automation or substations.

Also, CIP Sync uses the Precision Time Protocol (PTP) to distribute Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) across a standard Ethernet network. UTC is an offset independent time in the controller (no time zone or daylight savings time offsets). By time stamping in UTC, events can be compared across time zones without the need to adjust for the geography in which they were generated. In addition, UTC is immune to local daylight savings time, which can corrupt a database or sequence of event (SOE) application. Time zone and daylight savings time offsets are then added back into the time stamp automatically when displayed to an operator by a client application, such as an alarming system.

CIP Sync allows you to schedule outputs, useful in diverter applications to trigger multiple outputs simultaneously or to trigger a reject at the precise moment at which a product is at a reject station. Source: Rockwell Automation

Within an integrated control environment, such as the Rockwell Automation Integrated

  • Simplified controller clock settings. Large plants often have more than 1,000 controllers, all with wall clocks that need to be maintained. CIP Sync uses coordinated system time (CST) to streamline wall clock setting to offer high-precision time stamping and coordinate the wall clocks. Simply set one master clock and all the controllers will report alarms and events using the same system time.

  • Database integrity. Many industrial applications such as track and trace, first-fault detection, and event tracking require that large volumes of historical data be stored in a central database. All of this data is meaningless, however, without a common reference as to when it was generated. CIP Sync creates a common logging time between systems.

  • Position registration. Most networked I/O cards cannot send registration on/off information quickly enough for the controller to accurately generate an axis position. With CIP Sync, time stamps made directly on the I/O card establish when the mark was in front of the photo eye. A lookup function in the motion planner then returns axis positions that equate to the registration time, allowing a single time stamp to be passed to all axes in the system and returning position.

  • Improved fault tolerance. CIP Sync is a multimaster time network that self-arbitrates to identify the best time source in the control system, providing a more fault-tolerant architecture.

Dave Rapini is

For more

For more on CIP Sync, see:

> ODVA announces new editions of CIP network specifications and testing of Ethernet/IP products

> White paper offers help on IEEE 1588 time-based network control; ODVA networks with CIP meeting

-Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor

Control Engineering News Desk,

Register here to select your choice of free eNewsletters.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.