Whilst office Ethernet technology goes back 30 years. the concept of Industrial Ethernet is new.
The meeting of these two networking worlds is changing the face of control and device networks architecture and impacting manufacturers world-wide.
Plant floor data collection has supplied operations managers with an information “batch” approach that is becoming obsolete. New network technologies are changing this “information island” model to a real-time model, supplying operations managers as well as CEOs with factory floor data supplied in tandem with processing as it occurs. This trans-enterprise networking system, has the goal of linking all computers to office applications and control systems and intelligent devices together on the Internet/intranet.
Ethernet, with its Internet-friendly TCP/IP protocol, is ideally positioned as a solution. It is popular, seemingly inexpensive, and is being propelled by sheer market demand. Frost & Sullivan’s new study (Ethernet and The Industrial Fieldbus Network Market: The Advent of Industrial Ethernet in Totally Integrated Automation Strategies) examines the many pitfalls and promises associated with Ethernet network systems.
There is a perceived expectation amongst industrialists, say Frost & Sullivan, that they can and will use Ethernet, and that any application barriers can be worked through. ‘Manufacturers are pressing for an Ethernet Plan’, says Frost & Sullivan’s analyst Lance Gordon.
‘Industrial Ethernet will happen, and only a marketplace standardisation shakeout, combined with badly needed guidance from the industrial Ethernet Association are needed to complete its destiny.’