FieldComm Group, ODVA and PI (Profibus & Profinet International) joined together to provide an update on developments that are underway to realise an advanced physical layer for Ethernet that can be used in process automation and instrumentation to connect field devices in remote and hazardous locations, commonly referred to as "APL". The organisations were joined by representatives from suppliers of process instrumentation and controls in order to provide a well-rounded perspective on the benefits of an advanced physical layer for end users in the process industries, as well as discuss the actions being taken to complete the work needed to realise APL in process field devices.
The organisations announced the publication of a joint white paper, "Ethernet to the Field", which lays out the vision and timeline for the realisation of an Ethernet technology suitable for use in remote and hazardous locations founding in the process industries. The organisations foresee that the first Ethernet-connected field devices for use in hazardous locations should appear in 2022. To achieve this result, the organisations are seeking to leverage the work currently underway in the IEEE 802.3cg Task Force, which is developing amendments to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard for an Ethernet physical layer operating at 10 Mb/s over single-pair cable. Because of good progress for the specification of the long-reach solution (10BASE-T1L), it is planned that the IEEE 802.3 standard will include 10BASE-T1L by the end of 2019.
Experts of the APL project have already started the necessary additional developments to define the requirements and develop the necessary technology to achieve an Industrial Ethernet suitable for use in hazardous locations up to Zone 0, Division 1. To get the necessary approval, the experts work closely with a certification body for intrinsic safety to validate the developed Ex protection concepts and to prepare for standardisation in the IEC.
Because the future developments for an advanced physical layer for Industrial Ethernet will provide significant benefits to end-users in the process industry, this press conference was held in conjunction with ACHEMA 2018, one of the world's leading trade fairs for the process industries. As part of their joint promotion of an advanced physical layer and its potential adaptation to their respective industrial Ethernet networks - EtherNet/IP, HART-IP and PROFINET - the organisations plan to provide future updates at venues relevant to end users in the process industry including, but not limited to, the 2018 NAMUR General Meeting 2018, which will be held 8-9 November 2018 in Bad-Neuenahr, Germany. Go to www.profibusgroup.com for more information about the advanced physical layer for Industrial Ethernet.