Fieldbus & Industrial Networking


Ethernet carried to new heights

September 2009 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

LS Industrial Systems has developed RAPIEnet (realtime automation protocols for Industrial Ethernet) as a new industrial communications bus for use with its PLC systems. The company says in so doing the design has avoided the complications of hubs and switches and the accompanying excessive cabling required by established Ethernet technology. RAPIEnet employs PLC mounted cards running on 100Base-TX that have built-in switches and hubs.

This topology allows the PLC bus to be wired on a drop-off or daisy-chain basis, similar to established industrial communication buses, such as DeviceNet or Profibus. No external hubs and switches are required.

An optional ring topology is available for redundancy systems, which prevents loss of communications, should the normal bus cable be broken for any reason. Realtime data transmission is possible, where typical bus cycle times of less about 1 mS can be achieved, with synchronous operation and less than 1 microsecond of jitter being experienced. The system conforms to the standard IEC 8802-3 parameters, which allows interfacing with existing Ethernet technology.

RAPIEnet can be configured to interface directly with Ethernet and Internet TCP/IP gateway protocols, as well as being able to use Modbus TCP/IP for interfacing to third party equipment. Hot plug-in of switches and cards, is possible should a fault occur, with a maximum system recovery time of less than 10 mS.

System wiring can be accomplished either over fibre-optic or copper cabling.

The respective maximum distances between stations, without repeaters are 2 km and 100 m for the two media. Up to 12 RAPIEnet modules, all acting as their individual Bus Masters, can be accommodated on the master PLC rack.

System software, which is available free of charge from distributors, allows full intelligent system diagnostics. Information such as module status, network status, traffic info and service info is available at a glance.

RAPIEnet enables the LS XGi PLC, a cutting-edge high-speed PLC system capable of handling up to 131 000 I/O, to compete head-on with the best computer-based realtime automation solutions.

For more information contact Keith Gross, Ana-Digi Systems, +27 (0)82 557 2654, info@anadigi.co.za, www.anadigi.co.za



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