improved production process

NEWS from the  11 /08 / 2021

Asset management for improved production processes

Fieldbuses in the process industry

Digital field devices deliver an ever-increasing amount of data that provides sound insights into plant condition and based on which modern asset management can be carried out. To ensure a continuous data flow beyond the analog measured value, digital communication protocols have become established in the process industry in addition to the analog 4..20 mA current loop. The three most important are HART, Foundation Fieldbus (FF) and PROFIBUS. While FF is widely used in the USA, PROFIBUS has become the fieldbus protocol of choice in the European process industry. It allows the long cable runs required in process automation and the PROFIBUS PA profile can be used in hazardous areas. And by supporting digital communication and manufacturer-independent device exchange, it offers the best conditions for controlling, monitoring and streamlining production processes.

Ethernet/IP for modern asset management

But fieldbuses are not the end of the story. Ethernet-based control systems are available for innovative asset management. They offer higher bandwidths for data transmission and enable the integration of Industry 4.0 applications. By integrating these PLCs, existing plants in the process industry can be expanded to include modern and highly functional segments.

Combined solutions manage the transition to state-of-the-art technology

This is where the combined solutions come in that Softing Industrial has developed with its partners Schneider Electric and Endress+Hauser:

Softing’s “epGate” connects PROFIBUS PA and DP devices from Endress+Hauser with the M580 Ethernet/IP control system and the Control Expert engineering tool from Schneider Electric. The benefits are obvious:

  • The required investment is manageable, since it is not the entire plant that has to be modernized. The existing PROFIBUS PA and DP segments can be integrated into a modern Ethernet/IP network architecture without any changes.
  • Gateway integration is done quickly, either by using the generated EDS (Electronic Data Sheet) file (exported from the Embedded Web Server) or through the Schneider Electric Advanced Generic DTM (Device Type Manager) installed by default in EcoStruxure™ Control Expert engineering tool.
  • The Asset Management of the field devices can be easily realized via FDT (Field Device Type) frame applications such as FieldCare from Endress+Hauser with an included CommDTM (Communication Device Type Manager).

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