Network programming, configuration strategies differ for field, embedded solutions

By Mark T. Hoske, CONTROL ENGINEERING June 1, 1999

Tools and strategies differ for field-based and embedded networks, says Holger Zeltwanger, general secretary for CAN in Automation (CiA, Erlangen, Germany). (For related information, also see Control Engineering June `99 article, ‘Software Tools Can Ease Network Setup and Use.’ )

Users are likely to employ off-the-shelf, plug-and-play solutions for field networks that they then reconfigure and enhance. Examples include DeviceNet, ControlNet, Profibus (DP, FMS, PA), Interbus, FIP, Fieldbus Foundation protocols, and others, Mr. Zeltwanger says.

OEM’s embedded applications require ‘highly flexible communication systems that have to be optimized and tailored’ for use inside packaging, printing, and other machines. OEMs seeking competitive advantages of their machinery want highly configurable networks, including LonWorks, CANopen, and others. Networks applied inside machines and their interfaces also may provide plug-and-play and off-the-shelf capabilities, he suggests. Still, tools targeting OEM (and very sophisticated users) to tailor and optimize the network often provide a more advanced set of features and require more sophisticated skills to use.

CiA, www.can-cia.de , is an organization for CAN-based networks, such as DeviceNet and CANopen. Mr. Zeltwanger can be reached at E-mail: Zeltwanger@can-cia.de .