EtherMark™ connects marking systems, floor PLCs | Automation.com

EtherMark™ connects marking systems, floor PLCs

The patent-pending EtherMark™ package is the latest ground-breaking technology in Mecco® Marking & Traceability’s “125 Years of Marking Innovation.”

EtherMark™, available exclusively through Mecco®, allows marking systems to connect and communicate directly with factory floor Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). The new technology produces an EtherNet/IP™ solution that significantly reduces custom programming and eliminates the need for fragile PCs on the shop floor.

EtherMark™ enables marking equipment to be controlled by the PLC via EtherNet/IP™ utilizing only one command for marking a job file. Thus, what typically might have taken 30 or more hours of programming and integration work while using other marking systems now may be reduced to as little as eight minutes using EtherMark™ with the included Add-On Profile.

 “Most factory equipment is controlled through PLCs to automate processes in assembly lines,” said Dave Sweet, President of Mecco® Marking & Traceability. “Devices such as conveyors, robotic devices and vision systems typically communicate directly with a PLC using EtherNet/IP. But historically, marking systems have not.”

Without an easy means of communicating with PLCs, those wanting to incorporate part-marking in their manufacturing process faced a significant challenge. Custom interfacing had to be written via a RS-232 or TCP/IP interface to integrate laser or dot peen marking equipment.

“As a result, establishing communication between PLCs and marking devices historically required several days of effort and custom programming,” Sweet explained. “You had to create a communication link between the PLC and marking device API (Application Programming Interface). Each marking device vendor uses a proprietary API, which forces programmers and engineers to learn specific commands only applicable to a single device.”

EtherMark™ technology changed the entire process, saving clients both time and money.

“In the custom automation world, we are looking for the best and easiest ways for communication between components during our integration,” said Michael Proulx, Senior Electrical Engineer at RT Engineering Corporation in Franklin, Mass. “Ethernet has been our preferred method for some time, and Mecco’s EtherMark™ fit our needs.

“Our Senior Controls Engineer commented that integration with EtherMark™ was much better and faster than our past integrations,” Proulx continued. “The integration was easy, and whenever our client requested changes, being able to handle the changes remotely was extremely convenient.”

A manufacturer of plastic injection molded components for the automotive industry found Mecco’s EtherMark™ as a valuable tool on the assembly line.

“We were searching for a laser marking system that connected directly using EtherNet/IP,” said Russ, who is a controls manager. “We chose another vendor but when we tried to install the laser, it didn’t work. We found out it was actually Ethernet TCP/IP. We found Mecco® is the only provider of a true, native EtherNet/IP™ communication solution. Their EtherMark™ product works flawlessly and saved time.”

EtherMark™ is ODVA compliant, meaning that it is a certified EtherNet/IP™ solution. ODVA testing is a rigorous process to ensure that the implementation of EtherNet/IP™ will work alongside existing devices without interfering with network-wide communication.

If marking automation must be added or improved on an assembly line, EtherMark™ allows marking devices to communicate directly with PLCs, which results in lower cost, greater uptime and more factory throughput with less frustration for engineers, quality assurance departments, factory personnel and management.

“Mecco® is known for its 125 years of marking innovations, and EtherMark™ is the latest in a long line of innovations,” Sweet said. “As we recognize our 125th anniversary, this new EtherNet/IP™ solution enables us to tie the present with Mecco’s proud history.”

For more information, contact Mecco Marking & Traceability’s Dan Prokop, Marketing Manager, at [email protected], or 1.888.369.9190, extension 253. 

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