IP help, family advantages
It’s said that a good friend is even better than family since you choose friends. I thankfully saw family and other friends in a recent trip to Denver—cousins and a grade school friend that I hadn’t seen in more years than I care to admit. Family discussions extended two days after that, as I heard about 72 specification advancements in the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) family of networks achieved in the past 18 months.
One speaker at the ODVA 2007 CIP Networks Conference and 12th Annual Meeting graphically displayed some CIP network family benefits, spreading his thumb and forefinger about as wide as they could go to show the specification’s thickness; about 75% is common infrastructure for each of the CIP networks. Several called CIP the most complete and interoperable suite of networks. Direct comparisons were few; other numbers were abundant:
4 networks are in the CIP family—DeviceNet, ControlNet, EtherNet/IP, and CompoNet with 3 application extensions (CIP Motion, CIP Safety, and CIP Sync)—covering a lot of ground. More than 275 global vendor ODVA members include some companies said to be larger than DeviceNet originator Rockwell Automation, such as Cisco, Eaton, Omron Electronics, and Schneider Electric.
45 days will be the patent review time granted to ODVA members under the organization’s forthcoming new intellectual property rules, designed to add protections for implementers of ODVA specifications, transparency, clarity, and to minimize hassles, in addition to promoting royalty-free licensing of ODVA technologies. During the patent review, a member company may file non-contributed essential claims, meaning that it could request that its intellectual property be removed if it were introduced into the specification by someone other than the member company. The new policy will likely be in place for first-quarter 2008. It’s said to level the playing field among ODVA members, protecting participant companies, and ODVA. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission advised Standards Development Organizations (SDO) to clarify IP policies after a company tried (unsuccessfully) to craft a patent around another SDO’s work.
2 new Joint SIGs were added (Modbus Integration and EtherNet/IP Infrastructure) bringing the total to 16; ODVA updates its specifications twice a year.
9 cities in China and Europe hosted EtherNet/IP informational seminars; more are expected in 2008.
8 years of efforts led to CIP Network approval for the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management in fall 2006. A workgroup formed in March 2007 to help with EtherNet/IP implementation.
With families, friends… and digital networks, persistence counts. If you’re not already, enable the flow of intelligence to and from manufacturing with smart network connections.
While those in various industrial network organizations say their particular implementations are the best, almost everyone agrees that some implementation of an industrial network technology (industrial Ethernet protocol, fieldbus, control network, device network, and / or sensor network) can deliver efficiencies far beyond doing without.
For more from Control Engineering on these points, also read:
Who Puts the‘Industrial’ in Ethernet?
Industrial Networking (article based on Control Engineering Product Research)
Networking 101: Make the network(s) fit the application
Or search on any desired keyword atop www.controleng.com.