Integrated communication via Ethernet is an important prerequisite for Industrie 4.0. So far, however, the technology could not be used at the field level of the process industry. Pepperl + Fuchs makes consistent data flow via Ethernet realizable there too and has presented a demonstrator based on a concept study.
System Architectures for Industry 4.0 require integrated communication across all levels of an automation system. Ethernet is perfectly suited for this, but the widespread technology has not yet been usable at the field level of the process industry. Possible cable lengths of up to 100 m, for example, were too short for large process plants and there was a lack of solutions for explosion protection.
In order to make Ethernet usable for the field level in the future, the automation specialist has presented a concept study and implemented a demonstrator on this basis. This achieves transfer rates of up to 10 Mbit / s and uses standard fieldbus cables that bridge up to 1200 m. In addition, the Ethernet connection of the field devices is intrinsically safe and suitable for operation in Zone 0. Realized in this way, Ethernet offers a much higher communication bandwidth for process automation than traditional fieldbus systems. This enables new application scenarios and the implementation of new, innovative device functions.
The PA Ethernet demonstrator depicts the typical communication architecture of a process plant: A switch in the switch room connects the process network to the Ethernet network. At the same time it offers ports for communication and power supply of the field installation via a standard fieldbus cable. A field switch in potentially explosive areas provides the intrinsically safe ports for connecting the Ethernet-capable field devices and, in parallel, allows the operation of Profibus PA field devices. The demonstrator communication is shown in conjunction with Rockwell's "Compact Logix" control over Ethernet IP.