Process Device Profiles Added to EtherNet/IP for Enhanced Process Variable Standardization

Author photo: Craig Resnick
ByCraig Resnick
Company and Product News

ODVA has announced that process device profiles have now been added to The EtherNet/IP Specification to provide automation practitioners with another tool to help further optimize plant operations. Process device profiles provide a standard format for process variables and diagnostics across an array of devices for smoother vendor interoperability and Process Device Profileseasier DCS and PLC data integration from EtherNet/IP-enabled field devices. Device profiles are available for Coriolis flow, electromagnetic flow, vortex flow, standard pressure, and scaled pressure devices. This now enables process end users to better leverage EtherNet/IP devices with enhanced communication of critical diagnostics, such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and improved alignment with the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM).

EtherNet/IP process device profiles are made up of process measurement value objects for variables, such as current pressure, level, flow, etc., process totalized value objects that track cumulative data totals, such as total flow, and process device diagnostics objects that help to provide plant operators and maintenance personnel with easier access to additional device and process status information. Process device profiles help to convert sensor signals and actuator positions into important information that further enables actions to be taken to help improve product quality and operational efficiency. Additionally, process device profiles can help to evaluate the reliability of the measuring signal and aid in preventing plant shutdowns by identifying potential premature device failures. As an example, the process totalized value object can track total device usage, and device health can be inferred from the process measurement value and diagnostics objects. This allows users to shift from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance, potentially saving devices from unnecessarily being replaced during plant shutdowns while helping to identify other devices that are failing prematurely, which can help to reduce both unnecessary maintenance costs and potential downtime.

The EtherNet/IP process device profiles were designed with additional parameters and modified data types to better align with PA-DIM, which is a joint standard between the FieldComm Group, ISA100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, OPC Foundation, PI, VDMA, and ZVEI. PA-DIM represents information from process devices in a standardized way for easier access. In addition to providing actual measurement values and the quality or status of those values, EtherNet/IP process device profiles can also simulate the measurement values. This helps to better enable critical safety functions, such as partial stroke tests in valves, to take place without interfering with the process data. The standard formatting of live process variables, data totals, and the diagnostics that process device profiles provide will also help to increase vendor interoperability for end users given that the information will be the same across EtherNet/IP devices regardless of vendor.

The addition of process device profiles adds to the process automation capabilities of EtherNet/IP, including the ability to use the Ethernet-APL physical layer. Ethernet-APL helps to further maximize the value of commercially based industrial control hardware with an object-oriented foundation and standard internet protocol compatibility, including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP in process plants. Ethernet-APL is a combination of Single Pair Ethernet (IEEE 802.3cg-2019, 10BASE-T1L), engineered power, Intrinsic Safety (IEC 60079, 2-WISE), and Type A fieldbus cable (IEC 61158-2, for intrinsic safety) that is able to reach 1,000 meter distances and speeds of 10Mbit/s. Additionally, EtherNet/IP supports process automation through NE 107 diagnostics, HART integration, and IO-Link integration. Also, ODVA is continuing to expand the EtherNet/IP ecosystem with the next generation of digitized device description files, including FDT, FDI, and xDS, to help simplify integration into process asset management tools. Finally, ODVA has also just released the availability of concurrent connections, allowing for failsafe controller redundancy for very critical process applications.

EtherNet/IP process device profiles help to enable enhanced vendor interoperability, easier access to process variables and critical diagnostics such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals, and more seamless integration with PA-DIM. Additionally, process field device profiles will allow for simpler commissioning and more enhanced asset monitoring and integration into higher level PLC, DCS, and cloud-based systems.

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