Top 10 Recommendations For Plantwide EtherNet/IP Deployments

Top 10 Recommendations For Plantwide EtherNet/IP Deployments
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The top 10 recommendation for plantwide ethernet/IP deployments will be given. By Du Xiaohan, Business Manager, Architecture & Software, Southeast Asia, Rockwell Automation.

Globalisation and other competitive pressures, including major advances in enabling innovations – such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the proliferation of smarter endpoints that are both valuable and vulnerable, cybersecurity, network convergence, cloud computing, big data and analytics, virtualisation and mobility – are accelerating the needs for manufacturers to improve what and how information is shared across their enterprises. To do this, not only do they need to seamlessly and securely enable information sharing within and amongst sites, and beyond to external partners and customers, but they also must capture the right information and turn it into working data capital to create a Connected Enterprise.However, achieving a Connected Enterprise is more complex than just simply connecting disparate systems; it also requires a holistic understanding of manufacturing complexities, opportunities arising from emerging technologies, personnel roles and related responsibilities, information, control and networking tools. In fact, a Connected Enterprise is not truly ‘connected’ without a common network infrastructure that facilitates communications between the automation and control systems, as well as the enterprise network.

In response to these significant challenges, savvy manufacturers are leveraging standards-based Industrial EtherNet/IP networks to serve as a common unifying intelligent infrastructure through the use of standard Ethernet and Internet Protocol (IP) technology. In addition, a common network infrastructure enables the convergence of plant-floor Operations Technology (OT) and business-level Information Technology (IT) – facilitating uninterrupted plant- and enterprise-wide information distribution for improved asset utilisation, optimised workforce efficiency, faster time to market, lowered total cost of ownership and better enterprise-risk management.

Moreover, an open network like EtherNet/IP also enables industrial operators to easily incorporate and take advantage of modern-control technologies. Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs), for example, can communicate across the network and support increasingly information-intensive applications, such as batch processing, where additional memory is required.

A PAC also can converge the drive and motion controllers into one controller, on one network, to increase efficiency with fewer components and spare parts to maintain. Subsequently, by using a single network technology, plant managers can connect more manufacturing-automation and control-system devices with commercial devices, which can improve plant performance, optimise supply-chain management and foster better collaboration.

In order to safeguard successful plantwide EtherNet/IP deployment, manufacturers must work with the IT team and apply an industrial-network design methodology to sustain a robust, secure and future-ready network platform. The IT team will also be able to confirm the converged network is optimised for specific operations, from bandwidth and security to remote-access capabilities. Additionally, following a plan helps plant managers to create structure and hierarchy to aid real-time network performance maintenance, as well as enables the convergence of multiple control and information disciplines –including data collection, configuration, diagnostics, discrete, process, batch, safety, time synchronisation, drive, motion, energy management, voice and video.

The first step to design and plan a plantwide EtherNet/IP network is to examine each level of the logical model. After that, plant managers have to generate a network- requirements document that includes future expansion capabilities and incorporates industry best practices and standards. Then, manufacturers need to take an inventory of devices and applications with network dependencies within the logical model to help define a physical and logical topology for the requirements document. Next, the procurement, installation, and network configuration can be implemented by following the requirements document. Finally, engineers audit the network against standards to ensure that the network specifications were met.

Ten Recommendations For Successful EtherNet/IP Deployment

By embracing 10 easy-to-follow industrial-network design recommendations below, plant managers safeguard a successful plantwide EtherNet/IP deployment and efficient operations – allowing critical resources to focus on increasing innovation and productivity.

1.Understand each networked device’s application and functional qualifications

Include data requirements such as communication patterns and traffic types (industrial and non-industrial).

2. Enable a future-ready network design

Use industry and technology standards, reference models and architectures to create a new network architecture that accounts for future needs, such as wireless, Radio-Frequency IDentification (RFID) readers, video and mobile connectivity.

3. Create a structure within the plantwide EtherNet/IP network

Develop a logical topology that uses a multi-tier switch hierarchy across the manufacturing and enterprise as shown in Figure 2. Next, define zones and segmentation, then place industrial automation and control-system devices, servers or other communicating end-devices within the logical topology based on their location, function, availability and performance stipulation.

4. Segment the logical topology into modular building blocks

Create smaller Layer 2 networks to minimise broadcast domains and use Virtual-Local-Area- Networks (VLANs) within each zone to segment different traffic types, such as industrial and non-industrial. In addition, minimise the number of devices to less than 200 within a zone and VLAN. Use firewalls to strongly segment the manufacturing and enterprise zones, creating a DeMilitarised Zone (DMZ) that enables secure sharing of applications and data between the zones.

5. Use managed industrial switches

Leverage these switches that provide key network services, such as loop prevention, resiliency, segmentation, prioritisation, time synchronisation, multicast management, security and diagnostics.

6. Design and implement a robust physical layer reflecting availability and resiliency prerequisites

First, overlay the logical topology over the plant physical layout to create the physical topology. Then, use one gigabit-per second fibre uplinks and redundant paths between switches for optimal network resiliency. Next, confirm the end devices and network infrastructure devices communicate at the best possible speed, with duplex capabilities. Finally, deploy physical cabling corresponding to plant conditions and specifications, as well as install a defence-in-depth approach to help prevent noise coupling through techniques such as bonding, EMI segregation, shield barriers and filtering.

7. Determine application and network security requirements

Establish an early dialogue with IT by considering applicable IT essentials. Then, implement a defence-in-depth security approach at multiple application layers – such as physical, device and network – using a separate industrial-security policy in addition to the enterprise-security policy.

8. Reduce network latency and jitter by using standard-network protocols

Appropriate protocols include time synchronisation using IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP), Quality of Service (QoS) for control data prioritisation and Internet Group Management Protocol for multicast management.

9. Increase control and information data availability

Implement a redundant path network topology such as ring or redundant star. In addition, use a resiliency protocol to avoid Layer 2 loops to achieve fast network convergence time. These considerations affect how quickly the network will recover from a disruption, which may result in application timeouts and system shutdowns.

10. Deploy a hierarchical network model using Layer 3 switches

Layer 3 switches support inter-VLAN routing between cell/area (Layer 2 network) zones and plantwide applications and servers.

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