Collaboration on new standard
Three of the leading global automation and machine safety companies, Rockwell Automation, Omron, and Sick AG, are collaborating on the development of an open protocol for safety communications.
Based on the existing Control and Information Protocol (CIP) found in DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP, the newly defined safety protocol extension for CIP Safety has received concept approval by TUV Rheinland.
This represents a major milestone in meeting the requirements of safety technology in an open, inter-operable network environment. Based on customer requirements, the three companies, all members of the Open DeviceNet Vendor Association (ODVA), recognised the need for an open, inter-operable safety protocol that was compatible with existing networks in the industry.
Consequently, they began collaborating on a safety protocol, based on an extension to CIP, to meet the emerging customer requirements. ODVA has embraced having these companies continue this collaboration to implement CIP Safety.
ARC Advisory Group senior analyst David Humphrey says, "With the announcement of CIP Safety, ODVA is joining the ranks of open device network organisations that are helping customers preserve their network investments by adding new safety functionality.
Although this segment is still young, says Humphrey, ARC expects "end-users to quickly recognise the cost savings of putting both normal and safety-related data on the same wire and, in some cases, eliminating the need for a safety PLC. By adding safety functionality at the CIP level, ODVA could easily port the CIP Safety solution to any of its three CIP networks - DeviceNet, ControlNet and EtherNet/IP, if the market demands it."
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