PROCESS AUTOMATION FOR THE FUTURE
SETTING NEW STANDARDS FOR DIGITALISATION IN THE PROCESS INDUSTRY
Digitalisation has become synonymous with progress and development in the process industry. Its overarching aim is to establish intelligent human-machine and machine-machine networking for efficient process automation. Process monitoring and diagnostic data evaluation all the way out into the field play a key role here. This is even more true in hazardous areas.
New concepts such as NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) and the Open Process Automation Standard (O-PAS™) require a powerful, flexible infrastructure. A network standard that offers high bandwidths and fast transfer rates in the field – and all that with simple installation.
The solution? Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer, or short Ethernet-APL – the future international standard for Ethernet in the field.
ETHERNET-APL: DATA TRANSMISSION TECHNOLOGY WITHOUT LIMITS
Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer data transmission technology is the new standard for 2-wire Ethernet. Ethernet-APL is specifically optimised for use in systems within the process industry and enables cutting-edge, digital structures to be established. Continuous IP communication from the field level to the control system – and even beyond – is possible, as is horizontal and vertical networking across entire systems.
Ethernet-APL is based on the 10BASE-T1L specification from IEEE Std 802.3cg-2019 and specifically enhances this for use in the process industry. There's more – this sophisticated data transmission technology supports the "i" intrinsically safe type of protection in hazardous areas in Zones 0, 1 and 2 (in accordance with IEC 60079-11 and IEC 60079-25) as well as Class I Div. 1 and Div. 2 (NEC500). In contrast to Power over Data Lines (PoDL) from the Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) specification, Ethernet APL uses a different supply concept. Instead of industrial plug connectors, installation takes place primarily via terminal connections typical in the process industry.
How Ethernet-APL works in process automation
Ethernet-APL supports a range of different topologies, including the trunk and spur technology well-known in fieldbus installations. Even the type A cables used for the fieldbus can continue to be used. Furthermore, the new explosion protection concept for intrinsically safe Ethernet – "2-Wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet" (2-WISE) – based on the tried-and-tested FISCO (Fieldbus Intrinsically Safe Concept). R. STAHL is contributing to ongoing work on the new Technical Specification (TS) IEC TS 60079-47 at the IEC level.
A power switch supplies the network with energy and is responsible for conversion from 4-wire Ethernet to 2-wire Ethernet. This is where the field switches are connected. They are supplied via the trunk and provide the galvanically isolated energy with intrinsically safe type of protection for 2-WISE field devices. Alternatively, externally supplied field switches can be used, which work directly on 4-wire Ethernet.
WHY DO YOU NEED ETHERNET-APL?
ETHERNET-APL: THE FUTURE OF PROCESS AUTOMATION
The development and market readiness of Ethernet-APL are being driven by the collaborative work of 12 manufacturers and the leading Standards Developing Organizations (SDO) FieldComm Group (FCG), ODVA, OPC Foundation and PROFIBUS PROFINET International (PI).
Since the APL working group was founded in 2018, it has already been able to reach a number of milestones. The IEE Std 802.3cg-2019 standard, on which Ethernet-APL is primarily based, was published at the end of 2019. Work on the IEC TS 60079-47 with 2-WISE is continuing at a rapid pace in order to make it available soon. In 2020, end users successfully completed the first tests with prototypes, with more to follow.
All activities aim to achieve the vision of consistently usable network technology in the process industry – due to increasing volumes of process data that needs to be transferred, sometimes over significant distances, Ethernet-APL is a necessary variable for future-proof process automation. For more information, please visit the official Ethernet-APL website.