Industrial Ethernet: Rugged switch, open source, seminar updates

Recent industrial Ethernet developments include an open source real-time Ethernet protocol, a three-day industrial Ethernet technology seminar, and an advanced, IP67-rated industrial Ethernet switch. See photo.
By Control Engineering Staff July 29, 2008

In recent industrial Ethernet developments, Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group is promoting an open source real-time Ethernet protocol, Hirschmann Automation and Control plans a three-day industrial Ethernet technology seminar in September, and N-Tron introduced an advanced, IP67-rated industrial Ethernet switch (see photo below).
openPowerlink is an Open Source Industrial Ethernet: Ethernet Powerlink Standardization Group (EPSG) showcased the openPowerlink protocol for master and slave nodes, which can be downloaded at no charge. Because the real-time protocol operates with standard on-board Ethernet controllers, the download provides the only free-of-charge, complete real-time Ethernet system , EPSG says. Sys Tec electronic, a systems house for automation and an EPSG member, has released its Powerlink solution under the BSD Open Source license. The package contains a sample implementation for Linux systems consisting of the stacks for the Managing Node (master) and for Controlled Nodes (clients). Open Source implementation reaches cycle times up to 0.5 ms while ensuring high synchronicity.
Other software-based solutions, such as Profinet RT or EtherNet/IP, provide cycle times ranging from 2 to 10 ms. With co-processor support, Powerlink can reach cycle times of 0.1 ms. The license allows anyone to use, distribute, and modify the software and to add development enhancements free of charge. Any user may integrate the software into products and sell them. Users are not required to disclose the source code of their own adaptations to the stack, as long as they do not remove the copyright notice of developer Sys Tec from the underlying source code.
Anton Meindl, CEO of EPSG, says Open Source will be important for some areas of the automation industry. “Open Source has already gained much greater importance in other European countries like France or Italy, and in China and India,” Meindl says.
According to Meindl, German machine builders view Open Source technologies with some reservation. Decision-makers, however, find Open Source products to be based on high-quality, mature technologies, but with a different business model. Benefits include “independence from single suppliers, long product cycles, and fast troubleshooting. Users gain a high degree of independence in employing the product, while manufacturers and service providers experience economic growth,” he says.
EPSG showed the technology at this year’s Hannover Fair. For more on that, read:

Look at what we saw: Hannover Fair 2008, a technology postscript

Control engineers get help at Hirschmann industrial Ethernet seminar : A three-day industrial Ethernet technology seminar, Sept. 22-25, is offered by Hirschmann (see PDF) to help attendees deepen their networking knowledge. Sessions and hands-on labs help control engineers and plant personnel better implement, commission, and maintain Ethernet networks. Specifiers and consultants will look at specific requirements of Ethernet in industrial and mission-critical environments. It’s offered at The Bolger Center in Potomac, MD.
Topics covered run from Ethernet 101 to VLANS and wireless. Attendees can pick material according to abilities and schedules. Most classes have separate hands-on networking training with individual laptops and a high instructor / student ratio. The cost of the series is $979.
The agenda includes:
• Three days of Ethernet training;
• Documentation and all technical presentations;
• Free license for network management and visualization software (one year unrestricted use);
• Certificate of completion worth 1.5 CEU credits;
• Welcome reception on Monday night;
• All meals during event;
• An evening out to see Washington, DC;
• Daily door prize giveaways, including 3 Garmin nüvi GPSes; and
• Chili cook-off (this event has a legendary reputation – all that is needed is your
family’s secret recipe – kitchen, aprons and ingredients provided).
N-Tron releases 708M12 fully managed industrial Ethernet switch : The N-Tron 708M12 Industrial Ethernet switch offers advanced management and monitoring features, an IP67-rated enclosure, and a space-saving package.

N-Tron 708M12 fully managed industrial Ethernet switch
N-Tron offers

It is suitable for use in outdoor, washdown, offshore, military, transportation, power substation, and applications where a fully-managed switch is required or where there is exposure to liquids and excessive dirt and dust, company says. Industrial M12 Connectors have been tested in tough automation environments, assuring no ingress of liquids or dust. 708M12 provides eight 10/100BaseTX M12 D-Coded copper ports and comes standard with IGMP Snooping, VLAN, QoS, Trunking, Port Mirroring, RSTP, DHCP Client, and N-Tron’s N-Ring Technology. It provides Web Browser management and N-View OLE for Process Control Server Software.
N-Tron N-View OPC Server Software can be combined with HMI software packages to add network traffic monitoring, trending, and alarming to any application using N-Tron switches. SNMP is available for switch link and status monitoring. The optional N-Tron Configuration Device allows the configuration of a 708M12 switch to be quickly saved, restored, or copied to another 708M12 by maintenance personnel without requiring a computer or software.
The switch can be used as a Ring Manager with IEEE standard RSTP ring and mesh redundancy, and N-Tron’s N-Ring redundancy. N-Tron’s N-Ring technology provides expanded ring size capacity, detailed fault diagnostics, and a standard heal time of approximately 30 ms. The 708M12 configured as a Ring Manager periodically checks the health of the Ring via packets. If the Ring Manager stops receiving the health check packets, it converts the Ring to a linear bus topology within aproximatly 30 ms. In addition to standard Ring Manager Protocol, with a ring comprised of all N-Tron fully managed switches, a detailed ring map and fault location chart will be shown on the Ring Manager’s Web browser as well as N-View OPC Server to identify the health status of the ring. N-Tron’s N-Ring technology offers expanded ring size capacity for a network with up to 250 fully-managed N-TRON switches participating in N-Ring topologies.
Features include an IP67-rated metal enclosure; extended environmental specifications; Plug-and-Play EtherNet/IP support; configurable bi-color fault LED; ESD and surge protection diodes on all ports; and redundant power inputs: 10-49 V dc or 40-160 V dc
Also read: Ethernet hardware: Switches and more

Who Puts the ‘Industrial’ in Ethernet?

–  Control Engineering News Desk
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