naperlou, I agree. I recently read a paper regarding Germany's Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the focus of their Smart Factory is to explore information and communication technologies. The tools of interest is smartphones and tablets and in the article it mentions using the ISO-OSI model. Although it wasn't discussed in the paper, the emphasis on the information and communications infrastructure for these mobile devices might be EtherCAT enabling the ISO-OSI model in their smart factory architecture.
Do you know of a way to attach to any of the industrial ethernet flavors without buying a 3rd party card (like the Hilscher card shown in the picture in this article)?
In theory, a "standard" ethernet port would suffice, but I don't know of any open source protocol stacks that implement the industrial ethernet protocols. It seems to be a cottage industry for people selling $500 to $700 PCI cards that implement the protocols.
If there is open source code available to allow communicating with Ethernet/IP or EtherCat, or any of the other industrial ethernet flavors, I would be interested in it.
I find it particularly frustrating that they sell Ethernet/IP as an "open" standard, yet you can't get the standard without paying for it, and/or becoming a member of the controlling organization. (OVDA)
I have used the Hilscher Cifx-50 series of cards for Ethernet/IP (and some other protocols). The slave card in low quantities is about $500, and the master is over $700. I'm pretty sure the physical port on the card is a standard Ethernet port. You are paying for the protocol stack.
Elizabeth, EtherCAT is a good technology adaptation. It uses the lower levels of the OSI protocol model for Ethernet. Thus, it can use common Ethernet hardware. This brings down the cost dramatically. The upper levels are very different from what you have in your PC, but these are under program control, so the hardware is not affected.
The Aerotech offering, by smoothly integrating with development environments such as Visual Studio provides an easy path to integration.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.