The convergence of industry and technology, minds and machines, hardware and software, intelligence and connectivity can provide multitudes of efficiencies from better scheduling and fuel savings to better maintenance. But all that must start with getting useable data from the plant floor. Selecting industrial networking protocols helps improve production efficiency and quality with enterprise connectivity, although Ethernet of the industrial kind requires specialty knowledge and practices beyond Ethernet for home and office. When installing or operating an industrial Ethernet network, there are some key essentials to consider, including cabling, signal quality, ground loops, switches and traffic. To help manufacturers accommodate evolving networking requirements, such as decentralization of control, integrated diagnostics and simplified maintenance, network protocols integrate with industrial equipment and control systems to communicate crucial status updates and production data. This results in a powerful industrial tool to streamline manufacturing production with reliable, enterprise-wide connectivity, providing the highest level of visibility, control and flexibility achieving increased productivity and reduced operating costs. With the migration away from point-to-point connection, advanced networking architectures ensure connectivity, collaboration and integration from the device level to enterprise business systems. By maximizing production control, enterprise connectivity can improve product quality, customer satisfaction and company profitability. When choosing a networking solution, users must understand the individual communication requirements as well as any environmental challenges present in each application. Evaluating the performance capabilities, features and characteristics of industrial protocols can assist manufacturers in selecting the ideal networking solution for critical communication needs. Which cable is the right cable?The Ethernet physical layer was developed with the primary purpose of conveying large amounts of information. Applied first to office-level networks, where multiple clients use the network to share information, Ethernet has expanded beyond traditional usage to the plant floor, especially with the advent of industrial Ethernet protocols. Ethernet communications can be used for industrial data collection, transmission and monitoring. Industrial environments are subject to temperature ranges, dust, humidity and a host of other factors not normally found in a home or office. What’s the right choice of cable? In an office, commercially-rated cable like Category 5 is good for up to 10 MB and Category 5e is good for up to 100 MB. The ANSI/TIA-1005 standard states that Category 6 or better cabling should be used for hosts or devices that are exposed to an industrial environment. Category 6 cable is good for up to 1 GB at 100 meters and 10 GB at 55 meters. Category 6a cable can do up to 10 GB at 100 meters. Category 6 cable is generally less susceptible to cross talk and external EMI noise than Category 5 and 5e cables. Industrial Ethernet cables are designed to be less susceptible to physical deterioration in the harsher industrial environments. When installing Category 6 cable, ensure that the RJ45 ends and jacks are also rated for Category 6. For the best results, use premade patch cables for short runs, with factory installed connectors. For long runs, install jacks. Cables, shielding, ground loopsSome applications require shielding, but improperly installed shielded cable can create more problems than it solves. Shielded Ethernet cable may perform better in high EMI environments if run outside of conduit. Proper grounding is critical with shielded cable. One ground reference is essential. Multiple ground connections can cause ground loops, where the difference in voltage potential at the ground connections can induce noise on the cable. A ground loop can wreak havoc on your network. To get this right, use a grounded RJ45 connector on only one end of the cable. On the other end use a nonconductive RJ45 connector to eliminate the possibility of ground loops. If the Ethernet cable crosses power lines, always cross at right angles. Separate parallel Ethernet and power cables by at least eight to 12 inches or more for higher voltages and longer parallel runs. If the Ethernet cable is in a metal pathway or conduit, each section of the pathway or conduit must be bonded to the adjacent section for electrical continuity along its path. In general, route Ethernet cables away from equipment that generates EMI, such as motors, motor control equipment, lighting and power conductors. Within panels, separate Ethernet cables from conductors by at least two inches. When routing away from EMI sources within a panel, follow the recommended cable bend radius. Fiber opticsFiber optic technology has many benefits for industrial networks, including high levels of electrical insulation and isolation, easy installation and survivability in hostile environments. Upgrading can bring these and more, such as greater security, robustness and signal integrity. Designers from many industries turn to fiber optic data links as an alternative to copper media. Fiber optic solutions result in reliable data links that are capable of communicating over distances—ranging from inches to kilometres—and are more immune to noise. Although both copper and fiber are used as a transmission medium, fiber optic solutions offer some clear benefits for the system designer. Industrial Fast Ethernet working hard clad silica (HCS), for longer data links, has numerous advantages over copper solutions. While copper-based communication links are susceptible to electromagnetic (EM) fields and emit EM noise, which may interfere with other instrumentation, fiber optic links are immune to EM fields and do not generate any electromagnetic interference (EMI). Other advantages of choosing fiber over copper include: low weight, complete galvanic separation between link partners, easy field termination and maintenance, easier installation due to short bending radius and less susceptibility to performance changes caused by temperature extremes and humidity. Fiber optic solutions are also well suited for noisy, industrial environments that have motors and high-voltage. At the higher networking level, industrial Ethernet connects engineering and management workstations to industrial Ethernet hubs for data sharing and control across the enterprise. The value proposition is significant. Fiber solutions are available with various data rates, like 1Gb and 10Gb, along with achieving distances of 2 km for multinode fiber and greater with single mode fiber with connectors that serve industrial communications and factory automation applications. Best of all, fiber has been successfully applied for more than 30 years and is widely used in enterprise and industrial applications. Switches and hubsTo put it simply, never use a hub in an industrial Ethernet environment. Hubs are nothing more than multiport repeaters. Eliminating the use of hubs leaves the choice between managed and non-managed (or unmanaged) switches. While managed switches are generally preferable, they are also more expensive than non-managed switches. Every device on a network has a unique identifier, referred to as a media access control (MAC) address. This is the key to the much more discriminating behaviour of a switch compared to a hub. When a switch first powers up, it initially behaves like a hub broadcasting all traffic everywhere. As devices pass information between ports on a switch, it watches this traffic, figures out which MAC address is associated with which port and places this information in a MAC address table. Once it figures out the MAC address of a device connected to a particular port, it will watch for information intended for that MAC address and transmit such information only to the port associated with that address. An industrial Ethernet network carries three types of traffic. Unicast traffic routes from one point to another point. Multicast traffic routes from one point to many points. Broadcast traffic routes from one point to all points. Once a switch has built its MAC address table, managed and unmanaged switches treat unicast and broadcast traffic identically. Generally, keep broadcast traffic under 100 broadcasts per second, at a bandwidth of 100 Mb. A little bit of broadcasting is an integral part of any network. An example of devices that may initiate broadcasts is a print server, announcing itself periodically to the network. Snooping One of the primary differences between managed and unmanaged switches is how they treat multicast traffic. Multicast traffic typically comes from smart devices on plant floor process networks, in a connection-oriented producer-/consumer-based technology. In this context a connection is simply a relationship between two or more nodes across a network. A device needs to be a member of a multicast group to receive group data. All members of the group receive data. You do not need to be a member of a group to send data to the group. The main problem with multicast traffic in a producer/consumer model is that traffic grows exponentially with the number of hosts. This is where the managed switch comes in. A managed switch has the ability to turn on Internet Group Management Protocol (IGMP). Here’s how snooping works. When enabled, IGMP snooping sends out broadcast traffic to determine the members of any multicast groups. This information, combined with the MAC address table, allows a managed switch to route multicast traffic only to those ports associated with members of a multicast group. A non-managed switch treats multicast data the same as broadcast data and sends it everywhere. If the network uses producer/consumer technology or has multicast traffic, a managed switch is a must and worth the price premium. TroubleshootingThere are other reasons to consider a managed switch. This class of switches usually provides error logs, control of individual port speeds, duplex settings and the ability to mirror ports. These extra capabilities allow more precise control of network behaviour and can be an invaluable help troubleshooting issues that will certainly occur on the network at some point. When network performance issues occur, the first suspect often is the switch, though the switch rarely is the core of most network performance problems. Switches tend to be the lowest latency points in a system, typically operating 10 to 50 times faster than all other network components. While there is excellent software to help troubleshoot network performance issues, most of it can only see broadcast and multicast traffic. That’s fair enough, because many performance issues are caused by unrestrained multicast traffic or excessive broadcast traffic. If you need to examine unicast traffic for any reason, port mirroring is the only way. It is OK to use a non-managed switch if there is no multicast traffic on the network. On very small, simple networks with a few devices, many people use non-managed switches. Sometimes they take half-steps and combine the two, having a few remote devices on a non managed switch, which then feeds into a managed switch. As a general practice for networks of more than a few nodes, if cost is not a primary concern, go with a managed switch, which is often a much better choice in hindsight. Ivan Romanow, CET, is director of sales and marketing with Gescan Ontario, a division of Sonepar Canada. For more information, visit www.gescanontario.com. This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Fieldbus Foundation today announced approval of a backhaul architecture model, developed in collaboration with International Society of Automation standards committee ISA100 that provides a common framework enabling multiple industrial communication protocols to run over a shared wireless backhaul network in process automation systems. Completion of this work is a key milestone supporting implementation of the Fieldbus Foundation's wireless High Speed Ethernet (HSE) backhaul included in FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology. In June 2008, ISA100 leaders established a new working group, ISA100.15—Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group—to develop standards and technical reports to address one or more dedicated or shared wireless backhaul(s) to support technologies running multiple applications. At the same time, Fieldbus Foundation end user members identified the wireless backhaul as critical for FOUNDATION for ROM development. To expedite the work, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA began joint collaboration on wireless networks combining Fieldbus Foundation application protocol expertise with ISA100 communication networking resources to complete the architecture model. ISA will publish the work as technical report ISA-TR100.15.01, Backhaul Architecture Model: Secured Connectivity over Untrusted or Trusted Networks, within the ISA100 family of standards. Dr. Penny Chen, principal systems architect with Yokogawa and co-chair of the ISA100.15 working group, praised the results of the wireless backhaul collaborative effort. "Working together, dedicated engineers have a developed a solution meeting industry requirements for a wireless backhaul transport network to facilitate interoperability, end-to-end security, and end-to-end quality of service in industrial wireless installations," Dr. Chen said. Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation director of technology development and co-chair of the working group commented, "The Fieldbus Foundation has consistently supported wireless advancements, and this joint initiative is crucial to FOUNDATION for ROM. Our ROM solution extends the capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus to countless wired and wireless devices installed in some of the world’s harshest and most remote locations. It provides a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even OEM skids." According to Glanzer, plans are underway for a series of field demonstrations using the FOUNDATION for ROM wireless HSE backhaul. Major end users hosting the demonstrations include Reliance Industries (India), Petrobras (Brazil) and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Additional end user sites in Japan and Europe are expected to join the program. The field demos will offer a look at the full functionality of FOUNDATION for ROM, including wireless device integration, remote I/O integration, and wireless backhaul capabilities.
The market for industrial wireless devices is growing rapidly, and a new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests the technology will soon be a critical part of plant optimization processes. The report, Analysis of Wireless Devices in European Industrial Automation Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $218.0 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $539.5 million in 2016. "Wireless devices reduce maintenance costs, boost productivity and improve quality of production," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Anna Mazurek in a statement. "At the same time, initial implementation does not require vast restructuring or expensive machinery replacement. This combination of plant optimization, quick return on investment and easy installation is highlighting the benefits of industrial wireless automation." The study found that industrial wireless devices optimize the working of plant equipment through better asset allocation and monitoring machine health. They support plant staff with constant data access and easy communication. Constant and instant access to real-time data also supports enhanced operational flexibility and mobility. However, the perception of wireless devices as a non-critical improvement threatens to limit penetration levels. The technology provides end users with connections that are often already covered by wires and likely to last another decade. Moreover, plant managers do not yet perceive wireless technology as the harbinger of significant production process improvements. "End users need to realize that wireless technology not only replaces wires but has the potential to reshape and optimize production process," said Mazurek. "Vendor efforts to promote the technology have fallen short, particularly among the more reluctant potential wireless adopters." Wireless devices manufacturers need to educate end users not only about basic technological features, but also on the full range of usage benefits and opportunities offered by wireless communication. "Most importantly, end users will need to be educated on how the technology can be tailored to address their particular needs," said Mazurek. "The market needs another four to five years of pilot applications and technology trials to address all pending concerns about the technology performance and convince end users on the advantages of deploying industrial wireless devices."
The Fieldbus Foundation has released a major revision to its AG-181 System Engineering Guidelines. AG-181 is a comprehensive guide that includes best practices and recommendations for a complete FOUNDATION fieldbus installation, from engineering and design through commissioning, startup, operations, and maintenance. The guide includes recommendations on topics from selecting cable to wiring installation, grounding, implementing plant asset management systems, and best practices for project management.The new edition of AG-181 has been reformatted and reorganized to make it easier to read and access information. Some content has been rewritten to include more up-to-date information. This includes sections covering the Fieldbus Intrinsically Safe Concept (FISCO) fieldbus design rules, cable length, surge protection and segment scheduling. A section on the use of existing wiring has also been added.According to Larry O'Brien, global marketing manager for the Fieldbus Foundation, the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is "one of the automation industry's best-kept secrets" that belongs in the library of almost every process control engineer. It is a highly valuable resource for the growing number of end users, system integrators and engineering firms involved in the implementation of FOUNDATION fieldbus."One of the things we try to do at the Fieldbus Foundation is put information into the hands of those who need it around the world. We want people to become proficient in the use of our technology, from engineering and design to installation, maintenance, and operations," said O’Brien in a statement. "Our System Engineering Guidelines document contains the distilled wisdom of many of the world's leading fieldbus technology experts, from those in the engineering and construction world to end users, systems integrators, educators, and suppliers. It offers many good pointers on how to do your fieldbus project right the first time, and is an essential part of the toolbox of any FOUNDATION fieldbus professional. If you already have the older version, the latest update will look more streamlined and contains several new sections, as well as rewrites of old sections."The FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is separated into 11 sections, each covering different aspects of the fieldbus project lifecycle. Specific topics include: General Considerations, Fieldbus Definitions, Fieldbus Project Requirements, Host System Requirements, Software Configuration, Field Device Requirements, Segment Components, Network/Segment Design Guidelines, Site Installation Guidelines, Acceptance Testing, and Documentation Requirements.O'Brien indicated that the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines provides accurate and current fieldbus information in a vendor-neutral format, and is revised periodically to reflect changes to FOUNDATION technology. He said, "There is no better guide to implementing FOUNDATION fieldbus available today."To obtain the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines (Document Reference No. AG-181), visit the Fieldbus Foundation's Technical References page under the End User Resources section on www.fieldbus.org. The document can be downloaded in PDF format.
The Fieldbus Foundation today announced registration of the first isolated device couplers based on its FOUNDATION H1 (31.25 kbit/s) device coupler test specification. Devices from MTL and R. Stahl successfully completed the foundation's rigorous registration process. As part of a FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, isolated device couplers are installed where the fieldbus trunk (i.e., home run cable) is connected to the various device spurs. Isolated device couplers are specifically designed to allow automation end users to connect more devices per coupler while permitting live segment work in hazardous plant areas. These couplers provide isolated, conditioned power to multiple fieldbus devices and protect against short circuits caused by excess current in a spur. By enabling more devices per segment, they also help reduce controller input/output (I/O) points and associated installation costs.MTL's 9370-FB Series Fieldbus Barrier provides a range of complete integrated enclosure systems, instead of stand-alone barrier modules. All internal components are live pluggable, meaning that field maintenance can be carried out quickly and safely. Surge protection devices for the trunk and spurs can be easily fitted without requiring product re-design. The product series includes 6- and 12-spur versions in stainless steel or GRP enclosures, as well as a redundant option enabling improved system availability in critical fieldbus networks.R. Stahl's Series 9411/21 and 9411/24 isolated device couplers are suitable for use in Zone 1, Zone 2 and U.S. Division 2, and are available with plastic or stainless steel housings that can be tailored to fit customer requirements. The series also includes a unique power management feature: during the start-up of a fieldbus segment, the spurs energize one after the other. This reduces the inrush current on a segment by up to 50 percent, requiring less spare energy and making longer segment lengths possible.The Fieldbus Foundation's Stephen Mitschke, director-fieldbus products, commented, "The device coupler test specification provides a high level of robustness in fieldbus systems. And recent enhancements to the FOUNDATION fieldbus physical layer specifications provide end users with greater confidence that registered fieldbus equipment can be employed in a tightly integrated, interoperable control system architecture that is well suited to the most demanding industrial environments," Mitschke said.
The prospect of adding wireless devices to the process automation architecture is a compelling one from the perspective of tangible business benefits and incremental operational improvements. Availability of robust industrial wireless network protocols, such as WirelessHART and ISA100.11a, for use with IEEE standard technology makes the prospect even more attractive relative to past proprietary, often standalone wireless implementations. This potential is somewhat offset, however, by competition between these standards that leads customers to fear that wireless is emerging as the next platform for the automation fieldbus wars.
Virus problems in the office network are merely inconvenient when compared to expensive virus disruptions and unwanted data traffic in a production network. In order to minimize the risk of disturbances and production downtime caused by unauthorized access or malware, one leading manufacturer decided to implement greater security precautions.
With flexibility, cost savings and user-friendly characteristics, wireless technologies today can be seen in many applications and industries. One more recent arrival to the wireless scene is the automotive factory floor.
Honeywell's Limitless WDRR Wireless Din-Rail Receiver for industrial, construction, machine, material handling and heavy transportation applications, is a din-rail or panel-mountable receiver designed to receive wireless signals from up to 14 different position-sensing switches, and communicate the individual switch status to a PLC or any controllers capable of receiving NPN/PNP inputs. The Limitless wireless network includes the WDRR and WPMM receivers, and the WLS and WGLA limit switches; uses the global, license-free RF wireless 802.15.4 WPAN protocol; provides up to a 305 m (1000 ft) line-of-sight communication range; and prolongs battery life with advanced power management technology, the company says. www.honeywellnow.com
Is wireless better than a wired network? The answer is no; it's different. A plethora of wireless technologies exists to suit a variety of users. Is it for every application? No. But for many, wireless can be more flexible, versatile and cost effective than wired networks. Yet, questions regarding security, reliability and capacity of wireless continue to prevent conservative end users from reaping its benefits. Can these be overcome?
Manufacturing is an industry with complex operations, where the success of any organization lies in producing high quality products at lower costs at the right time. This requires companies to enable real-time visibility into operations at the plant floor and executive levels to make intelligent decisions. The Aberdeen Group, in collaboration with Manufacturing AUTOMATION, surveyed more than 150 executives to understand how industry leaders are taking advantage of industrial networking to enable real-time visibility into data to optimize production, maintenance and safety. Below are highlights from the survey.
More than 10 years ago, an automotive customer asked us to develop an RFID system that not only controlled part of the manufacturing process, but also reported data to their production control system. While interfacing with the local machinery was done using serial communication, all data transactions with production control utilized the plant's Ethernet system. The challenge was that there was not a suitable transaction protocol available, which meant that we had to define our own language to transmit the necessary information via TCP/IP, the Ethernet-based transport mechanism available at that time.
Emerson Process Management's Smart Wireless technology saved Atlas Pipeline - Westex an estimated $725,000 US in installation costs and improved production efficiency at Atlas' Benedum natural gas processing facility near Midkiff, Texas.
ATS Knowledge Day
March 28, 2019
Hannover Messe 2019
April 1-5, 2019
RFID Journal LIVE!
April 2-4, 2019
April 8-11, 2019
2019 Annual Valve Industry Knowledge Forum
April 9-11, 2019
Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Canada
June 4-6, 2019