Effective and easy-to-use Ethernet communication systems between the field level and higher system levels are becoming a key factor for future applications with modern IIoT and Industry 4.0 solutions in the process industries. To help meet this challenge, EtherNet/IP was named as one of the minimum binding requirements for such systems by NAMUR. ODVA is committed to the adaptation of EtherNet/IP to the full spectrum of process industry requirements, both now and in the future, to meet the growth of Ethernet in process plants.
As a part of this effort, NAMUR NE 107 Process Diagnostics have been integrated into EtherNet/IP, and ODVA has created a translation mechanism for the integration of HART devices into an EtherNet/IP architecture. The addition of seamless translation services for HART devices enables end users to be able to maximize their existing investment, which is crucial given the long product lifecycle in process, while also being able to take advantage of the benefits of EtherNet/IP. The end goal of the addition of NAMUR NE 107 diagnostics information is to ensure that EtherNet/IP can move critical process information from the device to the cloud. Work has also been done to ensure that EtherNet/IP works efficiently and seamlessly with FDI technology for the benefit of implementers within the process industries. As a result, EtherNet/IP can be used across the plant to connect devices to higher level infrastructure as an enabler to better performance for IIoT, Industry 4.0, NOA, and OPAF.
ODVA is also actively engaged in industry-wide efforts to promote adoption of an Advanced Physical Layer, known as “Ethernet-APL,” for long-reach, single pair Ethernet. Ethernet-APL will enable two wire cable lengths up to 1,000 meters, reuse of existing infrastructure, and use in hazardous areas, which will fully open up the process industry to Ethernet. Ethernet-APL will be an important enabler of EtherNet/IP in process.
At the field level, industrial Ethernet via Ethernet-APL will first be applied to devices with larger data exchange requirements, such as flow meters, which contain instrumentation data (e.g., mass flow, viscosity) or control valves, which contain process data (e.g., travel distance, stiction). In the longer term, devices with smaller data exchange requirements, such as simple sensors and actuators, will follow as has been seen in hybrid industries.