Rockwell Automation is now offering Integrated Motion over EtherNet/IP, meaning that motion control signals can be transmitted using the same protocol and control architecture as other automation functions. This development has been possible thanks to significant enhancements in the company's new range of programmable automation controllers (PACs).
This new approach will help companies increase their machine design flexibility, improve performance and reduce overall system costs. Rockwell Automation's Integrated Motion on EtherNet/IP uses Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) Motion and CIP Sync technologies from the Open Device Vendors Association (ODVA). The addition of motion capabilities over EtherNet/IP greatly enhances the flexibility and capabilities of this popular protocol. Haithem Mansouri, the European Product Manager for Motion Control at Rockwell Automation, explains: "This really is an important evolution in machine control; what we have done is close the loop. By introducing motion over EtherNet/IP we have given engineers the ability to sidestep their reliance on specialist motion protocols, such as Sercos. This has removed the final remaining barrier that was preventing the adoption of a complete, single, integrated network that is already capable of undertaking safety, process and discrete control.
"EtherNet/IP is, to all intents and purposes, identical to standard Ethernet; the only change being in the Application Layer. It uses standard, unmodified Ethernet and allows users to effectively manage real-time control and information flow for improved plant-wide optimisation, ultimately resulting in more informed decision-making and better business performance.
"Other vendors use Ethernet, but they just use the first physical layer – the actual protocol is proprietary and specialist. This means that although they can claim 'Ethernet compatibility', it is, in fact, just as closed as any other proprietary protocol."
Standard infrastructure components
EtherNet/IP uses standard infrastructure components, switches and tools and offers assured determinism, regardless of device type and mix. Especially important for motion applications, it is capable of 100ns time synchronisation of distributed devices and 100us time-scheduled output and time-stamped input I/O.
As well as the obvious and well-documented benefits of a single-network environment, there are other advantages on offer to machine builders and end users from the single-software environment. Expanding on its process control, discrete control and safety capabilities, 41 embedded motion instructions – available in Ladder, Structured Text and Sequential Function Chart languages – are available from the RSLogix 5000 software. The single-software environment provides complete system support, including motion configuration, programming, commissioning, diagnostics and drive maintenance. This single-software approach means fewer licenses, far fewer compatibility issues and a significantly reduced training burden.
Users also have access to catalogue-number drive, motor and actuator selection and configuration, which provides an out-of-the-box 'connect and run' capability that eliminates the need for complex drive/motor/actuator configuration and tuning. They can also easily add the desired motion function to their application program by just pointing and clicking - and any tags created in the software can then be shared and used across the entire enterprise. As the addition of motion is a natural evolution of an already well established technology, users are spoilt for choice when it comes to the breadth of products on offer. Machine builders can now configure, program, commission and maintain Kinetix 6500 servo drives (pictured above) and PowerFlex 755 AC drives thanks to the impressive processing capabilities of Rockwell Automation's new Allen-Bradley ControlLogix 557X PACs – all over EtherNet/IP. In addition to higher-level modules, there is a comprehensive range of Ethernet-compatible components that help users create an entire automation and motion infrastructure. There is also an impressive range of tools and services available to assist in design, programming, maintenance and troubleshooting.
Contact Rockwell Automation for more information about Integrated Motion over EtherNet/IP.