Ethernet/IP Helps Plant Data Power Business Intelligence

Even in tough, challenging environments, industrial operations are finding new ways to link plant floor data with business intelligence systems, providing greater visibility into their processes and profits. They are accomplishing this by using industrial-grade Ethernet Switches to provide reliable connectivity in environments with extreme temperatures, moisture, vibration and other challenges. To establish this link, industrial operations are replacing proprietary protocols with integrated communication protocols using Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and Ethernet network structures.

Implementing high-density Ethernet/IP can deliver measureable benefits, such as increased uptime and optimized workflow. Ethernet/IP is compatible with most fieldbus automation technologies and is scalable, allowing it to mine multiple data streams from the plant floor and integrate them with front-office business systems. Ethernet/IP has become the “gold standard” in many industrial environments, providing shared communication on a single local area network.

A networked plant floor requires an investment in infrastructure, including integrated cabling, connectivity, controllers, switches, and other components, as well as software interfaces for data transmission and mining. Also, plant-level connections typically span longer distances than office networks and require more stringent, higher-speed, real-time data transmission rates. Ethernet/IP can handle these challenges with ease.

When plant data reaches the front office, it enables business intelligence—such as real-time dashboards and data snapshots to help plan production—while providing advanced diagnostics and QC tools. However, to provide near real-time, enterprise-wide communication, Ethernet/IP requires a major investment in bandwidth resources.

It also requires scalability, so it can expand with the company. Fortunately, leading machine manufacturers provide open Ethernet I/O plant controls, which enhance interoperability. System planners must also build in the right components, including rugged industrial Ethernet switches, I/O blocks, and twisted pair or fiber optic cable components. These components include industrial-grade RJ-45 connectors or newer M12 circular connectors.

Ethernet/IP, when equipped with industrial-grade connectivity, can deliver improved:

  • equipment performance,
  • workflow speed,
  • energy efficiency,
  • quality control,
  • data transmission speeds over legacy platforms, and
  • the flexibility needed to add/remove network nodes.

With good planning and the right architecture, Ethernet/IP can bring the plant floor and front office together to provide enterprise-wide business intelligence as well as effective production monitoring and control.

For more information, please visit Molex Ethernet/IP Solutions.