BASF Selects ABB for Greenfield Projects after Successful Ethernet-APL Trial

Author photo: Chantal Polsonetti
ByChantal Polsonetti
Project Success Story

Ethernet-APL describes a physical layer designed especially for the requirements of process industries. These requirements include high data communication speeds over long distances, power and communication transmission through a single cable, and protective measures for safe use in hazardous areas. Ethernet has long been the standard IT communication solution, while Industrial Ethernet has been the variant of this standard for industry. 

Testing 240 Connected Devices to Prove Ethernet-APL Viability

According to the company, BASF has been working with industry partners for about five years to drive APL technology.   Prior to proceeding with their first greenfield Ethernet-APL project in Europe, the company required potential suppliers to conduct Ethernet-APL performance tests before final contracts were awarded. These tests were completed in March 2023.  


ABB’s performance tests were conducted using the ABB Ability System 800xA equipment under realistic production equipment environments. Due to this effort, BASF was able to test the APL technology, integration capabilities, and maintainability in the overall automation system. As a result of these tests, the company is now planning to equip new BASF plants in Europe with the technology.

BASF automation experts report that the tests were done to demonstrate the functioning and robustness of a PROFINET network via Ethernet-APL “on a realistic plant scale,” which was seen as a great value add to previous lab-scale testing and essential to gaining user acceptance and confidence in the technology. Almost 240 devices, 10 field switches, and multiple control systems were set up to reflect a realistic large-scale system.

Higher Speed Gives Many Benefits

Ethernet-APL brings several benefits enabling faster, seamless communication between field devices in a process plant while maintaining the intrinsic safety built into the systems.  The solution is also designed to allow easier engineering, commissioning, and maintenance of field instrumentation; provide higher availability and better performance; and ensure more usable and insightful data from the production process.

ABB has been an early adopter of Ethernet-APL, working closely with other early adopters in their areas of specialization to introduce this new technology. By fully integrating Ethernet-APL technology into the wider automation scope, the company believes users will get smarter and safer overall operations.

Further information about industrial Ethernet technology is available in ARC’s latest update of our Industrial Ethernet Switches Market Outlook report



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