May 16 2006

Industrial Ethernet Survey

Network Vision, a PTO member, has some clever tools to help maintain Industrial Ethernet networks.  We demonstrate them at the PROFINET one-day training events to show how standard tools can help troubleshoot the PROFINET network.  They’ll be exhibiting at our free upcoming Boston one-day training class on May 31.  The news is that they are…

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May 11 2006

Why Use Industrial Ethernet?

One of the topics we cover in the PROFINET one-day training classes is the industrial automation trends that have led users to Industrial Ethernet.  And more importantly, the results they can expect in using Industrial Ethernet, especially PROFINET. We were recently able to expand on that topic in an article in Control Engineering.  It’s been…

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May 2 2006

Whither Wireless? Which one?

Whither Wireless?  Which one?  We talk about wireless as if it were some monolithic thing.  It’s not. There was a lot of wireless stuff at Hanover, even a wireless pavilion with many displays.  My observation is that wireless means many different things.  I see four broad categories: device-level fieldbus-level Ethernet RTU-level The first one has…

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May 2 2006


The raging controversy between FDT and EDDL continued at Hanover.  This is just silly. My advice to those who are so wrapped up in one that they can’t tolerate the other is this: get over it!  Neither is going away.  The users will pick which one they want… IF THEY CARE.  And they don’t really…

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May 1 2006

IO-Link, HART for discrete?

IO-Link is a point-to-point wiring system intended for smart sensors and actuators.  It communicates over the discrete device’s wires.  This reminds me of HART in the process space where communication is superimposed over the 4-20mA signal wires.  And similar to HART, you can use an IO-Link device in a standard system and a non-IO-Link device…

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Apr 27 2006

Are you going to Hanover Fair…

Not Scarborough Fair… and no parsley, sage, rosemary, or thyme.  Are You Going to Hanover Fair could have been the tune at Hanover Fair on Monday (with apologies to Simon and Garfunkel).  Monday attendance seemed off from prior years; one company said they had 20% fewer leads.  Fortunately Tuesday picked up and Wednesday was very busy;…

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Apr 23 2006

Manchester-Encoded Safety Airport Lounge

En route to Hanover I am spending some hours in the Manchester (UK) airport… too many, actually, but more than enough time to read and ponder a Briefing in Friday’s ARCwire on HIMA’s Safety Systems.  In the last paragraph this bit causes me to wonder: “HIMA offers open integration solutions based on common hardware and…

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Apr 21 2006

Safety Has Evolved

“Safety has evolved from being a cost burden and “necessary evil” to a strategy for improving productivity and reducing downtime.” –from the “The Business Case for Safety” section of the new ARC White Paper, PROFIsafe: Networked Safety for Process and Factory Automation. We engineers sometimes get so excited about the technology we forget about the…

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Apr 18 2006


Live from the PROFINET one-day training event in Nashville – lunch is over and we are resuming with the PROFINET IO demo.  Good questions at this event and a blend of Control Engineers and IT.  I love to see that gap overcome.  At these events, when we ask if there is cooperation or tension between…

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Apr 11 2006

Somewhere over the Atlantic

I’m relatively awake but not necessarily happy to be.  But while I am, I will compose some Hanover Fair news to post when I land. First, news about PROFIBUS and PROFINET.  A number of companies make development kits for device manufacturers to get moving quickly on PROFINET products.  (We’ve recently confirmed that we will schedule…

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