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Plug-In Modules Simplify Fieldbus Choices
8/15/2012

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ttemple
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Platinum
PCI Version
ttemple   8/15/2012 10:18:07 AM
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I am currently using the PCI slot mounted version Hilscher cifX card.  They have versions that will handle a number of the industrial Ethernet flavors (Ehternet/IP, EhterCat, Sercos, etc.), and ones that will handle Profibus, Canbus, DeviceNet, etc.

Switching to a different network involves switching out the PCI card with the appropriate version for the desired protocol.  The software basically doesn't change.

I haven't used the plug in style, because our products don't currently have a form factor where it would be usable.  My experience with the cifX PCI slot version has been generally positive.  I have used the Ethernet/IP version, and the Profibus versions, both connecting to Allen Bradley PLC's.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: PCI Version
Jon Titus   8/15/2012 11:00:42 AM
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ttemple, thanks for your comments.  We always appreciate comments from people who have used a product we write about. --Jon

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: PCI Version
mrdon   8/15/2012 4:48:52 PM
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A plug in module such as this would definitely help equipment machine designers because of the interoperability with various fieldbus products and protocol standards available. The Hirshler plug in module will allow the equipment machine designer to focus on the functional requirements of the machine instead of the networking infrastructure which requires significant design/implementation time .

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: PCI Version
Jon Titus   8/15/2012 5:22:34 PM
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Hi, mrdon.  Exactly.  The modular approach also simplifies the equipment design because engineers would not wonder if their communication interface worked properly.  One less "unknown" to wrestle with when bring up a prototype or testing equipment in the field. --Jon

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: PCI Version
Charles Murray   8/15/2012 6:49:01 PM
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For years, I've been hearing suppliers talk about the possibility of having the engineer focus on the machine requirements, instead of the networking protocol. In the end, though, those suppliers were usually pushing one proprietary protocol. Seems like this plug-in module finally makes it possible to turn the vision to reality. Nice to see the optimism in your comment, mrdon.

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: PCI Version
mrdon   8/15/2012 7:13:03 PM
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Hi Jon,

Thanks. The concept of plug in modules is to remove the complexities of building discrete circuit interfaces which always provides a challenge to the overall system integration phase of product design. The modular approach to equipment machine design just seems to make logical sense in the grand scheme of New Product Development. Nice article!

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: PCI Version
mrdon   8/15/2012 7:27:29 PM
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Hi  Charles,

Thanks for the kind words. Having worked in the Automotive Industry, modular design was the mantra for all design engineers. The vehicle communication bus protocol back in the early nighties of Chrysler Vehicles were proprietary based and made it difficult for service mechanics to run diagnostics because of non -interoperability. Even with the PLC based automation controls in the assembly plants, networking different vendor's machines was quite a challenge because of different protocol standards and specs. The NetJack would have made our lives (the Electrical Plant Engineers) easy because of the modular approach to networking and protocol management. 

 

mrdon
User Rank
Gold
Re: PCI Version
mrdon   8/15/2012 7:27:51 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi  Charles,

Thanks for the kind words. Having worked in the Automotive Industry, modular design was the mantra for all design engineers. The vehicle communication bus protocol back in the early nighties of Chrysler Vehicles were proprietary based and made it difficult for service mechanics to run diagnostics because of non -interoperability. Even with the PLC based automation controls in the assembly plants, networking different vendor's machines was quite a challenge because of different protocol standards and specs. The NetJack would have made our lives (the Electrical Plant Engineers) easy because of the modular approach to networking and protocol management. 

 

ttemple
User Rank
Platinum
Re: PCI Version
ttemple   8/16/2012 8:24:53 AM
NO RATINGS
For what it's worth, these guys have the same type of offering:

www.anybus.com

They have similar product offerings to Hilscher.

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