MTS Aligns Sensors to EtherNet/IP Compatibility

The series now can interface with a wider array of EtherNet/IP-compliant hardware across many industrial sectors, including factory automation systems, plastic injection molding apparatus, and materials-handling equipment.

February 5, 2016

4 Min Read
MTS Aligns Sensors to EtherNet/IP Compatibility

MTS Systems Corp., which provides test systems and position sensors technology to the industrial machinery marketplace, recently boosted the performance of its R-Series of magnetostrictive sensors for absolute position measurement, making them compliant with the most recent version of the EtherNet/IP communication protocol with device-level ring compatibility.

The R-Series was recertified against the ODVA EtherNet/IP Composite Conformance Test revision CT12. The series now can interface with a wider array of EtherNet/IP-compliant hardware across many industrial sectors, including factory automation systems, plastic injection molding apparatus, and materials-handling equipment.

MTS Systems supplies its new Ethernet/IP-compliant R-Series linear-position sensors in rod- and profile-style housings.
(Source: MTS Systems)

EtherNet/IP enables connection of all devices to a network, not just those connected to controllers. Most industrial organizations are already invested, at least partly, in networks that support EtherNet/IP.

The new R-Series will allow it to expand its customer base to new industries, MTS said. Customers will find it easier to incorporate the sensors into their network infrastructure, and can be confident that the sensors will continue to meet changing standards and not present integration problems with applications and networks, it further claimed.

[Visit MTS Systems at Booth 2568 at Pacific Design & Manufacturing, Feb. 9-11, at the Anaheim Convention Center.]

Today, industrial automation networks are evolving, accommodating the technological tidal wave of the Internet of Things, according to MTS product manager Charles Jones. Without standardization, interoperability and integration can become real problems.

“Whether you refer to it as the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0, or some other buzzword, we are all well aware of the shift toward connecting devices on a common Ethernet-based platform,” Jones told Design News. “By keeping up with the most popular Ethernet standards, such as Profinet, EtherCat, and EtherNet/IP, customers can deploy the most relevant, cost-effective, and innovative machine designs in their respective markets,” he said.


Specifically, compliance with the latest standards ensures that the sensors work properly in DLR topology, which improves reliability by providing redundant communications paths without the use of additional routing hardware. Upon a communications fault, the ring topology network will automatically reroute traffic, allowing machinery to continue operating without interruption.

Since the introduction of EtherNet/IP, the conformance tests have been revised about once a year on average, while updates to the standard’s specifications are made twice a year. Keeping up with the changes is onerous but worth it in the long run for companies that wish to remain competitive.

“Staying current is still a worthwhile effort because many industry benefits have been realized by keeping up with evolving Ethernet technology trends,” Jones said. “If the network isn’t working properly due to devices that are not up to date, integration and troubleshooting can become very difficult. Remaining current to conformance tests ensures an easy integration with minimal troubleshooting.”

It can save money and time. Greater interoperability can lead to improved diagnostics, easier configuration, fewer components, and reduced cabling.

MTS is supplying its R-series of sensors in rod, profile, and flex configurations, with stroke lengths of 25 mm to 7,620 mm (1 inch to 300 inches), 25 mm to 5,080 mm (1 inch to 200 inches), and 255 mm to 10,060 mm (10 inches to 396 inches). The rod-style units are optimized for implementation in hydraulic cylinders, the profile-style units facilitate machine mounting, and the flex-style units are a flexible sensor designed for applications requiring very long stroke lengths and linear measurements on an arc.

Tracey Schelmetic graduated from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. and began her long career as a technology and science writer and editor at Appleton & Lange, the now-defunct medical publishing arm of Simon & Schuster. Later, as the editorial director of telecom trade journal Customer Interaction Solutions (today Customer magazine) she became a well-recognized voice in the contact center industry. Today, she is a freelance writer specializing in manufacturing and technology, telecommunications, and enterprise software.

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