FieldComm Group, ODVA and PI (Profibus & Profinet International) have joined together to provide an update on the current status of future technology and standards for an advanced physical layer for Industrial Ethernet that will be suitable for use in demanding applications in process instrumentation, commonly referred to as "APL". Their briefing explained industry activities and the projected timeline to realise an APL for Industrial Ethernet - as intrinsically safe, single-pair and long-reach - for use with process automation field devices. The organisations were joined by representative 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, in combination with process automation and instrumentation suppliers, 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 10Mb/s over single-pair cable with power delivery, and additional developments being done by the suppliers 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.
Together, the organisations and suppliers have formed a steering committee to coordinate the overall work effort to achieve and promote an APL for EtherNet/IP, HART-IP and PROFINET. Dr Jörg Hähniche, chairperson of the steering committee and employee of Endress+Hauser, Mr Stefan Lüder, project manager for the advanced physical layer activity and employee of Siemens, Mr Ted Masters, president of FieldComm Group, Ms. Katherine Voss, president of ODVA, and Mr Karsten Schneider, chairman of PI, shared in delivering the update.
Ted Masters, president of FieldComm Group states: "APL will be a significant advancement for our industry by extending existing Ethernet technology to address our traditional two-wire topology and intrinsic safety. Like today, multiple protocols will be used in all facilities, but with the added capabilities of APL and Ethernet based technologies. With integration through FDI and its information model, our industry can now shift their focus from the protocol to capture value of the information provided by field devices."
Katherine Voss, president of ODVA says: "EtherNet/IP has proven to users that it offers significant benefits in performance, ease-of-use, interoperability and its substantial ecosystem of suppliers. EtherNet/IP is future-ready to take advantage of the many exciting developments coming to Industrial Ethernet including single-pair Ethernet which will offer simplified and lower-cost connection schemes for users in a variety of applications. Users in the process industry will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the future advanced physical layer technology."
Karsten Schneider, chairman of PI adds: "Industrie 4.0 driven innovations, in particular, Ethernet-based communication systems are the main driving force for increasing the profitability of process industries, whose production systems have to work for years without interruption in rough environments. Today, there is still a need for a solution with which PROFINET devices can also be provided for use in hazardous areas based on two-wires and supplying power over the line. This is why PI pushes the implementation of APL - the corresponding physical layer for Ethernet communication - being created in a joint project with well-known industrial companies and organisations."
Based on timelines published by the IEEE 802.3cg Task Force, the organisations expect that enhancements to the IEEE 802.3 standard for long-reach, single pair Ethernet will be complete in 2019 and available for integration into their respective Ethernet specifications in 2020. Combined with the additional activities of the process automation and instrumentation suppliers to accelerate development of technology for an advanced physical layer, the organisations foresee that the first Ethernet-connected field devices for use in hazardous locations should appear in 2021 or 2022.
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 activities leading up to the 2017 General Meeting of NAMUR, an international user association of automation technology in 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, ACHEMA 2018, which will be held 11-15 June 2018 in Frankfurt, Germany. For more information please visit www.uk.profibus.com.