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Rockwell Automation has embedded Ethernet Device Level Ring (DLR) technology into its integrated architecture system for high-speed applications needing resilient networks.

The company said this will help machine builders looking for flexible, reliable and low-cost network solutions for their real-time Ethernet/IP applications.

DLR is a network technology for industrial applications that takes advantage of embedded switch functionality in automation end devices, such as input/output (I/O) modules and programmable automation controllers, to enable Ethernet ring network topologies at the device level.

Unlike a network- or switch-level ring topology that provides resilience to the network infrastructure, DLR technology adds device-level network resilience to optimise machine operation.

When a DLR detects a break in the ring, it provides alternate routing of the data to help recover the network at fast rates.

Enhanced diagnostics built into DLR-enabled products identify the point of failure, helping to speed up maintenance and reduce the mean time to repair.

DLR technology helps simplify network architecture while still providing the flexibility to connect and co-exist with other network topologies.

Multiport Ethernet/IP devices equipped with DLR technology connect directly to neighbouring nodes and form a ring topology at the end devices.

DLR technology reduces the number of external components and associated cabling, which facilitates design and installation for machine builders.

ODVA, an international association comprising members from automation companies, recently extended the Ethernet/IP specification to include the DLR protocol, creating a network solution for multivendor Ethernet/IP systems.

By complying with a single standard ring specification, manufacturers using DLR-enabled products can achieve interoperability and numerous benefits provided by the Ethernet/IP network.

DLR technology also supports the IEEE 1588 standard for precise time synchronisation and standardised Quality of Service mechanisms to help prioritise data transmission.

Throughout 2009, Allen-Bradley Control Logix controllers, I/O systems and Allen-Bradley Kinetix motion solutions with DLR technology will become available globally from Rockwell Automation.

The company will also release a standalone communication module to help manufacturers connect devices not equipped with DLR technology to the ring.

Rockwell Automation

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