Schneider Electric embeds Ethernet at device level in switches

Schneider Electric reported at its Telemecanique press event on June 15-16 that it's embedding switch technology in the Ethernet interface of automation and control products. The move reportedly reduces the expense of device-level Ethernet below the cost of fieldbus networks by eliminating need for external industrial switch ports.

07/01/2005


Schneider Electric reported at its Telemecanique press event on June 15-16 that it's embedding switch technology in the Ethernet interface of automation and control products. The move reportedly reduces the expense of device-level Ethernet below the cost of fieldbus networks by eliminating need for external industrial switch ports. Versatility of embedded switches means they can be easily implemented in many topologies, including star, daisy chain, ring, redundant and mesh, increasing application flexibility and reducing implementation costs for machine builders and industrial users.

For example, Schneider adds that high installation costs of $40 per port on a typical external switch, higher costs of maintaining additional devices, and higher failure rates from the use of switches that may not be designed for industrial environments contribute to making star topologies too expensive to implement. Fortunately, commercial availability of new Ethernet chips is making device-level embedded switches feasible. "Instead of using an external industrial switch, each device will have a switch embedded right in the circuitry," says Michael Sullivan, building cluster director in Schneider's global business development division. "This will reduce the cost of each connected device from about $40 a port to less than $2 a port."

Control up to 700 hp

Schneider also announced at the press event that motor control for up to 700-hp motors is available in its new Altivar 71 variable-speed ac drive. Dual microprocessors and motor control algorithms that provide superior torque performance and speed regulation, along with advanced materials that make it 15% smaller than previous generations, reportedly make Altivar 71 the most advanced ac drive for constant torque applications.

Altivar 71's operator-friendly design includes a large, easy-to-read, customizable LCD screen that uses plain text, and includes a navigation wheel that allows users to easily scroll through menus. This new Telemecanique drive family also features a quick-start menu with macro-configurations for easy and fast commissioning.





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