Industrial Ethernet; aiding the revolution in manufacturing automation

September 05, 2013 // By Thomas Leyrer, Texas Instruments

Owing to the many proprietary implementations of Industrial Ethernet, as well as legacy serial protocols, silicon and software solutions must provide a basic compatible technology that enables ease of design and promotes across-the-board communications. Through semiconductor innovation, industrial customers can look forward to the advantages of speed, safety, efficiency and flexibility brought by advanced network communications.

Throughout the world, a major step forward in automated manufacturing is taking place. New sophistication in networking is bringing faster, more flexible communications to the factory floor, helping manufacturers produce more efficiently and enabling them to respond more quickly to changing market conditions. Control networks that were once isolated are now linked to the front office and the field, bringing data that can affect production decisions in real time. This movement is often called the “Smart Factory,” and its implications are revolutionary – so much so that an initiative in Germany has dubbed the new era of manufacturing “Industry 4.0” to indicate its equivalent importance to the periods following the three earlier industrial revolutions of steam power, mass production and early automation.

Changes in industrial communications today are creating what some call a revolution in manufacturing automation. Key to these changes is Industrial Ethernet, which adds deterministic delivery, time-triggered support, greater distances and safer, more reliable operation to the advantages of traditional Ethernet.
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