Drives and Controls Magazine

Schneider claims the lead in industrial Ethernet

01 July, 2005

Schneider Electric has announced several extensions to its "Transparent Ready" (TR) portfolio of open, Web-enabled automation products. Since unveiling the Modbus TCP/IP-based TR concept in 1998, Schneider claims to have installed more than 250,000 TR products, and asserts that this makes it the world leader in industrial Ethernet, in terms of installed systems.

The latest additions to the portfolio include:

• an active Web server which is built into a PLC and is designed to enhance the vertical and horizontal integration of real-time automation data;

• a technology, called SOAP/XML Web Services, which allows a PLC Web server to use the same language as IT applications, thus allowing IT specialists to design applications for direct, real-time access to PLC data;

• intelligent Web gateways that allow existing PLCs and other Modbus or Uni-Telway devices to be integrated into Ethernet TCP/IP architectures;

• a service called Web Diagnostic, that uses the Web pages built into Telemecanique products to access information such as PLC configurations, measured data, variables and alarms, via any Web browser;

• a technology called Faulty Device Replacement, which allows maintenance personnel to reconfigure equipment automatically, simply by positioning two wheels which initiate a TCP/IP transmission to request the equipment`s network settings; and

• sealed IP65 inductive sensors that use high-speed Ethernet TCP/IP communications to provide contact-free data transfer to PLCs.

In addition, Schneider says that Ethernet TCP/IP will now adapt itself to any field topology, including daisy-chain, star and loop. The TR products use two TCP/IP ports to eliminate the need for network switches and to simplify cabling. Schneider claims that this results in savings which make Ethernet/IP`s costs similar to those of proprietary field buses.