U.S. Council for Automotive Research Supports Ethernet/IP Standard for Plant Floor Applications | Automation.com

U.S. Council for Automotive Research Supports Ethernet/IP Standard for Plant Floor Applications

Hannover, Germany. ODVA announced today that the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) has agreed to support EtherNet/IP™ as the industrial Ethernet network standard for plant floor applications in vehicle assembly facilities. To further this agreement, USCAR is proceeding with specific initiatives to accelerate its adoption in the U.S. vehicle assembly operations of its three member companies – DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation.

In the first of its initiatives directed at EtherNet/IP, USCAR is working with ODVA, the organization that manages the EtherNet/IP specification, to identify aspects of network performance that have the most impact on real-time control applications that are typical in vehicle assembly operations and developing reporting criteria for specific network performance parameters. One result will be that purchasers of EtherNet/IP devices will be able to make better purchase decisions by analyzing published performance parameters for specific devices and choosing the device that best meets the performance requirements of each application.

Adjunct to the USCAR agreement, the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and ODVA, the organization that manages and publishes the EtherNet/IP Specification, have entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to research and develop industry standards and test methodologies for performance parameters of EtherNet/IP devices. The CRADA will be conducted in two phases. Phase One will consist of research and development activities at NIST's Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md., to identify performance metrics and methodologies along with reporting standards. Phase Two of the CRADA will consist of activities at ODVA's Technology and Training Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., to establish commercial test capability at the facility to conduct and certify the results of performance tests.

"USCAR's work with EtherNet/IP in support of its nationwide application in U.S. automotive assembly facilities is a prime example of USCAR's ability to collaborate on research and apply its results in a way that advances the U.S. automotive industry as a whole,” said Don Walkowicz, executive director of USCAR. "The decision to support EtherNet/IP by our members - DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors - and their executive leadership, demonstrates their confidence in EtherNet/IP and its potential to be an important enhancement to U.S. automotive manufacturing."

Introduced in 2001, EtherNet/IP is the most developed, proven and complete industrial Ethernet network solution available for manufacturing today and is supported by over 150 vendors around the world. EtherNet/IP extends commercial off-the-shelf Ethernet and Internet technology to the factory floor and provides a comprehensive suite of network messages and services needed for manufacturing automation applications. As such, EtherNet/IP has the potential to improve manufacturing efficiencies in automotive assembly operations and the ability of automotive companies to respond to changes in their manufacturing requirements.

"USCAR's agreement to support EtherNet/IP in plant floor applications indicates that the U.S. manufacturing sector will likely see a significant expansion in the use of industrial Ethernet, and specifically EtherNet/IP, for real-time control applications," states Katherine Voss, executive director of ODVA. "The collaboration between NIST and ODVA to make available user-relevant performance metrics for EtherNet/IP devices will provide manufacturers with a tool to increase their efficiencies and thus, maximize their return on investment from automation deployments using EtherNet/IP."

The USCAR member companies are expected to require certified performance test reports for EtherNet/IP devices starting in 2007. ODVA anticipates that the US automotive industry will see an increase in the use of EtherNet/IP in PLC-to-PLC communications and robotics applications such as welding, gluing, nut running and clinching.

The NIST and ODVA CRADA is an outgrowth of the United States Alliance for Technology and Engineering for Automotive Manufacturing (U.S. A-TEAM), which is bringing together scientists and engineers from NIST and USCAR to conduct collaborative research that has the potential to contribute to the future competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry.

About USCAR
Founded in 1992, The United States Council for Automotive Research facilitates cooperative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, which share the common goal of strengthening the technology base of the U.S. automotive industry.

About NIST
The National Institute of Standards and Technology ("NIST"), founded in 1901, is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration. Its mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life.

About ODVA
ODVA, founded in 1995, is an international association comprised of members from the world's leading automation companies. Collectively, ODVA and its members support network technologies based on the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP™). These network technologies currently include EtherNet/IP™, among others. ODVA manages the development of these open technologies, and assists manufacturers and users of CIP Networks through tools, training and marketing activities. In addition, ODVA offers conformance testing to help ensure that products built to its specifications operate in multi-vendor systems. ODVA also is active in other standards development organizations and industry consortia to drive the growth of open communication standards.

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