Siemens Serves Users by Adding EtherNet/IP

  • January 19, 2013
  • Siemens
  • Feature
January 2013
By Bill Lydon, Editor
What a surprise at the PackExpo 2012 show to see that Siemens added EtherNet/IP to the Sinamics S120 drive. The new addition of an EtherNet/IP stack offers another option for Sinamics users and makes life easier for users and machine builders. This is a highly integrated implementation of multiple protocols embedded into Sinamics S120 drive products that now supports Profibus DP, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, and Ethernet TCP/IP. Craig Nelson, Siemens Product Manager of Sinamics S Drives, commented “In many instances, plant managers have the requirement for a single-plant network, particularly with large automotive, packaging, plastics, metals, food and beverage as well as material handling companies.” “Our Sinamics drives provide communications without limits to a specific network type.”
Having the flexibility to communicate with the most common automation systems via PROFINET, EtherNet/IP or basic Ethernet TCP/IP makes the Sinamics drive system easily adaptable to the current Industrial Ethernet boom. Standard TCP/IP can be used simultaneously to provide information to enterprise-level systems for integrated factory applications.
Sinamics S120 drives are designed to handle a wide range of drive requirements and facilitate vector, servo and variable-frequency drive (V/Hz) applications with the choice of single- or multi-axis offerings. The drives have a wide power range (0.25 – 1,600 HP) and can be provided with safety integrated functionality. With the Siemens Drive-CLiQ interface, convenient start-up with automatic configuration of the drive system can be accomplished.  Sinamics S120 is suitable for applications including packaging, plastics molding, plastic extrusion, textile, printing, paper machines, material handling, assembly systems, machine tools, rolling mills and test stands.
The only way to use EtherNet/IP devices with a Siemens PROFINET based system in the past was to install a PROFINET Proxy, which is a hardware gateway device to connect other industrial networks.
This is a very nice implementation as illustrated in this video:
Siemens SINAMICS Drives and EtherNet/IP
Thoughts & Observations
My reaction to seeing this demonstration, that I suspect was shared by many, was disbelief. I asked a lot of questions and changed the network configuration to be sure there was no, “smoke and mirrors.”
Users typically have multiple industrial networks installed in plants that either don’t communicate or they need to be bridged together with gateways or HMIs. These bridges create complexity and cost.
I wonder if the is a clue of things to come as the industry becomes more mature and vendors realize they need to compete on the merits of their products rather than the industrial network customers find most appropriate for their applications.
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