Ethernet Hardware for Industrial Environments

Ethernet is a very good solution for industrial environments primarily because it bridges seamlessly to every organizational level and department, from engineering to manufacturing to marketing to customer service to finance to management. It allow users to share enterprise-wide information at every level in their organizations.

 

Users can utilize traditional Ethernet networking components to save money primarily in clean industrial environments. However, most industrial plants involve environments involving dust, moisture, oil, solvents, mists, even washdown, that traditional Ethernet components will not reliably tolerate. This requires the user to mount the components in an expensive sealed enclosure or somehow isolate the components from the environment. This adds considerable expense, much of which is often-forgotten installation labor.

 

A better and faster labor-saving solution is hardware that is built to withstand industrial environments, and built to be installed in minutes, eliminating extensive labor. Vulnerable plastic enclosures with RJ45 connectors are replaced with rugged, washdown-tolerant powder-coated die-cast aluminum enclosures with stainless steel or nickel-plated brass eurofast® receptacles. Enclosures are rated NEMA 1,3,4,12,13 and IEC IP67. Mating cordsets are rated IP67 and NEMA 4.

 

This hardware allows Ethernet to be implemented in locations where it was previously impossible, offering the performance of traditional switches used in the office environment. These rugged components work reliably in the harshest manufacturing environments, allowing remote I/O's to be mounted directly on the machinery and eliminating the need for a separate water-tight or remote control box.

 

Labor savings are achieved with fully-connectorized fieldbus systems offering system-wide "plug-and-play" convenience for all input and output devices on the network. They allow extremely rapid changeover to a connectorized network, often in 15 minutes or less. System components include both connectorized switches and cabling that streamline changeover and maintenance procedures.

 

Connectorized, cabled leads offer the fastest and most flexible method of installing sensors and actuators on the network. The junctions and cabling connect field devices to PLCs via a cable tray, and the tees provide a quick, convenient and NEC (National Electrical Code)-compliant way in and out of the cable tray. The pre-molded cordsets and connectorized modules allow the most rapid implementation of automation projects. This method also allows the fastest way to replace components on the network or to change out components as system needs change. For additional flexibility, field wireable connectors are available to handle on the spot wiring.

 

For example, InterlinkBT's new Industrial Ethernet Switch includes five 10/100 Mbps 8-pin eurofast® ports to segment network traffic and extend Ethernet connection distance. This switch also converts data packets between different transmission speeds and meets IEEE 802.3, 802.3u and 802.3x requirements. The rugged construction of the new switch withstands harsh environments. It comes in an extremely compact yet durable housing rated NEMA 1,3,4,12,13 and IEC IP67.  InterlinkBT also offers CAT5e eurofast® patch cords, receptacles and RJ45 adapter cordsets for Ethernet networks.

 

Over the long haul, rugged on-the-machine industrial Ethernet components will prove to be a cheaper solution. They can be installed on or near the machinery, withstand the environment and provide the long-term reliability required. These compact, cost-effective hardware components reduce total automation cost, compared with fragile office-type equipment or point-to-point control using bulky expensive hardware and inflexible wiring methods.

 

Their new Industrial Ethernet Switch includes five 10/100 Mbps 8-pin eurofast® ports to segment network traffic and extend Ethernet connection distance. It also converts data packets between different transmission speeds and meets IEEE 802.3, 802.3u and 802.3x requirements. It comes in an extremely compact yet durable housing rated NEMA 1,3,4,12,13 and IEC IP67. The rugged construction of the new switch withstands harsh environments, enabling Ethernet to be implemented in locations where it was previously impossible, offering the performance of traditional switches used in the office environment. . This compact, cost-effective switch reduces total automation cost, compared with point-to-point control using bulky expensive hardware and inflexible wiring methods. InterlinkBT also offers CAT5e eurofast® patch cords, receptacles and RJ45 adapter cordsets for Ethernet networks.

 

Faster, Smarter Fieldbuses

The optimum design of a fieldbus system must carefully consider the inherent benefits of the technology, including the significant reduction of wiring, installation labor and changeover time, plus streamlined maintenance procedures.

 

Plug-and-play.

InterlinkBT™ supplies fully-connectorized fieldbus systems offering system-wide "plug-and-play" convenience for all input and output devices on the network. They allow extremely rapid changeover to a connectorized network, often in 15 minutes or less. System components include both junctions and cabling (standard and armored), and IP67 tees feature standardized minifast® connectors that streamline changeover and maintenance procedures.

 

Connectorized, cabled leads offer the fastest and most flexible method of installing sensors and actuators on the network. The junctions and cabling connect field devices to PLCs via a cable tray, and the tees provide a quick, convenient and NEC (National Electrical Code)-compliant way in and out of the cable tray. The pre-molded cordsets and connectorized modules allow the most rapid implementation of automation projects. This method also allows the fastest way to replace components on the network or to change out components as system needs change. For additional flexibility, field wireable connectors are available to handle on the spot wiring.

 

These rugged components work reliably in the harshest manufacturing environments, allowing remote I/O's to be mounted directly on the machinery and eliminating the need for a separate water-tight or remote control box. They are also ideal for difficult processing environments, including intrinsic safety, hazardous areas and volatile processes. The junction housings are fully-potted and rated NEMA 1, 2, 3, 3R, 4, 4X, 5, 12, & 13; and IP65, IP66 or IP67. They are constructed of powder-coated die-cast aluminum, with stainless steel or nickel-plated brass receptacles. The cordsets are rated IP67 and NEMA 4.

 

A focus on Ethernet.

InterlinkBT® is assisting customers who want enterprise-wide information that can be shared at every level in their organization, by helping them connect device-level products to their Ethernet™ enterprise system. Their new Industrial Ethernet Switch includes five 10/100 Mbps 8-pin eurofast® ports to segment network traffic and extend Ethernet connection distance. It also converts data packets between different transmission speeds and meets IEEE 802.3, 802.3u and 802.3x requirements. It comes in an extremely compact yet durable housing rated NEMA 1,3,4,12,13 and IEC IP67. The rugged construction of the new switch withstands harsh environments, enabling Ethernet to be implemented in locations where it was previously impossible, offering the performance of traditional switches used in the office environment. . This compact, cost-effective switch reduces total automation cost, compared with point-to-point control using bulky expensive hardware and inflexible wiring methods. InterlinkBT also offers CAT5e eurofast® patch cords, receptacles and RJ45 adapter cordsets for Ethernet networks.

 

Smaller components for smaller machines.

Many machine builders have unique design requirements for smaller equipment to carefully handle smaller products. Fieldbus products have historically  had large footprints and large connectors to achieve all the functionality and performance required. InterlinkBT has recently introduced piconet®, new bus network products that function identically, but without all the mass.  Utilizing the latest hi-tech electronic components and board designs, they have developed a reduced sized product to fit the smallest applications. One housing size, 175 mm long x 30 mm wide x 27 mm high, handles a wide range of functions and configurations.

 

piconet modules offer detection and process capabilities for discrete and analog signals while allowing installation in areas where space limitations had previously made it impossible to apply fieldbus technology. By utilizing snap-on or screw-on picofast® connectors, designers can quickly develop tools and material handling systems in time for rapid development products.  And the entire system can be reused or reconfigured for the next generation of product. With an IP67 rating, piconet  modules can be mounted directly on the machine, thus eliminating the need for additional enclosures. Also, interface modules can be connected by fiber optics to up to 256 extension modules with noise immune fiber optics with a high-speed transmission rate of 1.5 Mbytes per second (1000 I/O in approx. 1 ms).  The compact extension modules measure a mere 126 mm long x 30 mm wide x 27 mm high.

 

InterlinkBT provides stand-alone modules that support open fieldbus protocols, such as DeviceNet, PROFIBUS-DP, Ethernet, CANopen and Foundation Fieldbus. The stand-alone module connects the controller to the field devices and provides the bus network, module, inputs, and outputs.

 

Technical service.

In addition, InterlinkBT provides advanced technical service support for all major open device-level networks. This support includes an in-house staff of network specialists that can answer users' technical, application and configuration questions by simply dialing Applications Engineering, toll-free 1-888-546-5880. More than 2,000 InterlinkBT field distribution specialists are also available to answer basic questions.

 

When designing a network, engineers must not forget the basic benefits that initially led them to the fieldbus. And those benefits include greatly reduced costs by eliminating traditional point-to-point wiring, with fewer terminations, cabinets and connections. Plus faster startup is achieved by having all plug-in hardware, fewer circuit checks, less wire numbering and less documentation. Downtime and maintenance costs are also reduced by having visible, status indicating LED's on the machinery near the sensor/actuator devices, and through short circuit detection and dedicated diagnostics.

 

InterlinkBT is a leading supplier of advanced device level bus solutions to help manufacturers improve their automated processes, products and profits. InterlinkBT, 3000 Campus Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55441. Phone 763-694-2300. FAX 763-694-2399. For technical information, contact InterlinkBT Engineering Technology Dept., Toll-free 888-546-5880. www.interlinkbt.com.

 

This article provided by Karen Knoblock of InterlinkBT. InterlinkBT supplies bus components for all of the major open buses. They recommend and supply the best bus protocol and hardware topology to meet your specific needs. For more information about InterlinkBT or their products please visit their website at: http://www.interlinkbt.com.