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Connecting Industrial Automation’s Giants

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Connecting Industrial Automation’s Giants

While there are many Industrial protocols in existence, three giants have emerged in automation. Schneider Electric® has standardized on EtherNet/IP™ and Modbus®, Rockwell Automation® has standardized on EtherNet/IP, and Siemens® and GE have standardized on PROFINET.

If it were up to the manufacturers, you would buy all your automation equipment from a single supplier. But in the real world, your operations probably have automation systems and control devices with a mix of these and some other protocols. Now the challenge for you is to get all of these to communicate together so that your systems can operate together. The shared data can also help you optimize your production, alert you to issues within the various parts of your facility, and generally help keep the components of your operation running consistently and reliably.

The solutions you need vary from passing large amounts of data peer to peer, to interlocking high-speed systems, to controlling high-speed I/O devices. You may be going from a Schneider Electric controller to a GE device or a Rockwell Automation PLC to a Siemens I/O system or many other combinations. Your best solution is to use an industrial protocol gateway.


Other benefits

We know that already sounds pretty good, but the great news is that ProSoft offers EtherNet/IP-PROFINET and Modbus TCP-PROFINET solutions that do more than just transfer data.

Have a PAC from which you need to control your PROFINET devices? New gateway solutions help you do just that. And by using a gateway with two isolated Ethernet ports, you can keep your EtherNet/IP or Modbus TCP and PROFINET devices on separate subnets. This allows you to isolate your networks, ensuring that only the data you want to transfer is sent between your equipment. This can help your IT personnel by allowing them to more easily identify devices in the event of a problem. 

This feature is also useful when integrating an OEM’s piece of equipment. You can avoid having to change each device’s IP address, which can require getting access to several software packages, and could affect your OEM’s warranty.

Gateway solutions offer multiple I/O connections when using the EtherNet/IP protocol, to get the fastest transfers of large amounts of data. This can also help you optimize your Ethernet bandwidth, by sending your high-speed data in fast connection(s) and the diagnostics in a slower connection.  The gateway’s diagnostic data can be transferred to your PAC or PLC and monitored in your operator station, helping you reduce unscheduled downtime by narrowing down the problem so that the technician can quickly get to the source of the issue. An example is when a device that you were talking to is unexpectedly powered off, and you want to quickly locate it and get it powered back up.

By connecting industrial automation’s biggest protocols via your communication solutions, you can optimize your resources and reduce your downtime – while connecting manufacturing’s most prevalent protocols.