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Case Studies

EtherWAN Helps Keep Factory Automation Systems Connected



Automotive Manufacturing Operation

An automobile manufacturing facility ranks among the world's largest industrial plants, churning out thousands of vehicles daily. Within this automotive assembly plant, robotic technology takes center stage. Industrial automation employs these robotic machines to handle monotonous and repetitive tasks that may not be preferable for workers.


Ethernet Infrastructure Integration

Generally, a serial protocol is the preferred communication method used in industrial automation applications; Ethernet was not accepted by many vendors with proprietary protocols, which prevented the wide acceptance of Ethernet on the factory floor until the early 90s new generation equipment utilized new IP protocols devised for the control industry. As manufacturing facilities adopt this new equipment and embrace IP protocols, the demand for Ethernet-based networking infrastructure becomes essential.


Reliability Under Pressure

The industrial control environment is harsh compared to computer rooms and offices. Networking equipment and systems must withstand high levels of electrical noise, dust, dirt, humidity, and extreme hot and cold temperature levels. In order to run the plant twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, factory floor controllers must access data embedded in drive systems, operator workstations, and I/O devices on a real-time basis. For example, completing the process of filling a bottle requires much more time-sensitive communication than accessing the next page of an Internet site.


Real-Time Recovery with α-Ring

Automation control applications require the accuracy of data transmission rather than bandwidth for large packet sizes. Any packet loss might mess up the operation flow or lead to an unaffordable result. EtherWAN's “α-Ring topology” provides network redundancy and guarantees network availability and reliability. Once connections are in issues, the network system can be recovered in less than 15 milliseconds. The same efficiency is proved even when 130+ switches are connected. The solution is to install the EX94005 (5-port unmanaged switch) in the robotic machine. Each control or assembly station may have multiple EX94005 unmanaged switches in line. All are connecting with the EX73000 (16-port hardened management switch) to form a redundant Ethernet Ring environment. The EX77000 (24-port hardened managed switch), located in the centralized control room of the industrial zone, is also connected with EX73000 switches in the field. This will allow administrators to monitor the production flow and take proper actions when demand calls.


Sustained Peak Efficiency

EtherWAN's products are designed for industrial automation applications suitable for the extreme environments found in industrial environments. EtherWAN's series of Ethernet switches have UL1604/ ISA 12.12.01 safety certifications for hazardous environments and proprietary technology α-ring to ensure that the data communications need for real-time applications are met, as well as the ability to monitor them to arrange more flexible production demands. As a result of using EtherWAN's switches, the overall downtime rate is decreased, helping companies to attain maximum availability and minimum day-to-day maintenance.


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EtherWAN – " When Connectivity is Crucial "
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