Control network is now to go wide open

Rockwell’s ControlNet hi-speed industrial network spec is to be made available to third parties. The company made the announcement at the opening of its Automation Solutions Centre in Milton Keynes last month. ControlNet combines I/O, peer-to-peer interlocking and messaging. According to Frances Monk, comms manager at Rockwell, users have requested the move, stating that all […]

Rockwell’s ControlNet hi-speed industrial network spec is to be made available to third parties. The company made the announcement at the opening of its Automation Solutions Centre in Milton Keynes last month.

ControlNet combines I/O, peer-to-peer interlocking and messaging. According to Frances Monk, comms manager at Rockwell, users have requested the move, stating that all automation suppliers must have open access to this technology.

Monk said that Rockwell had always intended to do this, but `we are now moving up the time line’. She said that Rockwell is exploring the option of setting up an independent vendor association.

The spec is available, and there are tools, software, a starter kit, firmware and ASICs. Training has started with vendors including ABB, Alfa Laval, Bently Nevada, Honeywell and Square D.

* Rockwell’s network choices are now fixed as Ethernet TCP/IP, ControlNet and, at the bottom, H1 Foundation Fieldbus and DeviceNet. Monk claims that after investigation, Rockwell sees these as the `best of class’ comms buses for automation.

* Meanwhile, according to Steve Biegacki, networks business manager in the US, Rockwell has written to the Fieldbus Foundation offering ControlNet for development of FF’s H2 high speed and the Manufacturing Automation (MA) specs. The company has also offered its resources to help modify the spec for FF.

* New hardware and software from Rockwell are set to make DeviceNet comms easier for users, systems integrators and software suppliers. The company has launched Manager Software v2.0, a new software developer’s kit, a configurator, PC interface card, an Advance DDE server and a comms model.