EtherNet/IP-Based Process Devices: Connection Made Easy with FDT

April 16, 2018

Process maintenance teams have long been challenged with gaining access and connectivity to service their field-level devices. Traditionally, plant personnel needed to walk out to the processing area and use a handheld communicator or a blue-tooth enabled web application to individually connect to each device directly – a process that can take hours.

As more operations are connected using next-generation process field networks, like EtherNet/IP®, the need for an easier, centralized connection method is imperative for more efficient device management.

To this end, Rockwell Automation and Endress+Hauser offer solutions that – when combined – help leverage the time-saving benefits of FDT® Technology to connect, configure and maintain EtherNet/IP devices. This gives maintenance personnel the ability to remotely access intelligent EtherNet/IP devices from a centralized, secure and safe location, reducing field-device maintenance from hours to mere minutes.

Getting Connected

To enhance plant operational efficiency, modern facilities want a fully enabled IIoT architecture with connected applications, automation systems and process devices throughout the enterprise. To access plant floor data, Rockwell Automation supports EtherNet/IP process devices in an FDT architecture with the FactoryTalk® Linx CommDTM.

The FactoryTalk Linx CommDTM allows asset management software that is based on FDT technology, such as Endress+Hauser FieldCare™ and FactoryTalk AssetCentre Process Device Configuration, to communicate with EtherNet/IP devices. This allows process maintenance teams to easily and effectively traverse process skids to access field devices across the plant.

Even plant operations staff benefit from the ability to use a single-communication DTM to connect to all devices across all systems and skids, regardless of a plant’s size, whereas in the past, teams needed multiple communication DTMs to traverse various hardware and process systems. Additionally, operations teams can access field devices from a central location. With this integrated solution, engineers, operators, technicians and managers can identify any EtherNet/IP device by its serial number and get the health status of each device — all from a single application. This not only saves significant time but also helps eliminate the risks associated with field maintenance.

Case-in-Point: Dairy Plant Saves Valuable Maintenance Time

One dairy plant, operating several process skids, recently implemented a solution that included FieldCare and the FactoryTalk Linx CommDTM to access hundreds of Endress+Hauser EtherNet/IP devices across its facility. Maintenance and operations personnel use the CommDTM to connect and monitor field devices regardless of their physical or network location. The producer enjoys having one central tool for the team to access data from their office or wherever personnel happen to be in or outside of the facility during their working time or, if needed, to assist with plant operations outside their normal hours. Consolidated, remote access to field devices allows maintenance teams to focus on monitoring, maintaining and addressing issues as well as improving their work processes.

For today’s process automation users, integrating several modern design concepts into a single solution is easy. A modular, information-rich facility is easy to design, implement and maintain when EtherNet/IP and FDT Technology are used as part of the architectural foundation.

To download the FactoryTalk Linx CommDTM, please visit our Product Compatibility and Download Center (PCDC).

Contributed by Rockwell Automation and Endress+Hauser

FactoryTalk is a trademark of Rockwell Automation Inc.

FDT is a trademark of FDT Group AISBL

FieldCare is a trademark of Endress+Hauser

EtherNet/IP is a trademark of ODVA, INC.

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