Rockwell and E+H develop flowmeters with Ethernet
Endress + Hauser, the Swiss level, flow and analytical measurement product manufacturer, expanded its market profile by entering into a collaborative relationship with Rockwell Automation. So far the relationship seems to be working well. It has resulted in increased sales volumes for E+H, possibly particularly in the American markets, where Rockwell is very strong. The E+H booth alongside the Rockwell areas at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Orlando last October demonstrated this close tie, but it extends into more than just extra sales. The link with Rockwell also brings Cisco and its Ethernet expertise into play, and E+H development efforts have been used to support this with the launch last year of a new version of the Promass Coriolis flowmeter with EtherNet/IP connectivity. Further progress along these lines has now emerged, as promised, with an Ethernet version of the Promag 53 electromagnetic flowmeter. Connections to these units are purely mains power and dual RJ45 Ethernet ports, permitting communications, direct service, daisy chain or integrated switch functions.
The Ethernet connection allows fast and seamless integration of the flowmeter into Rockwell's integrated architecture in ControlLogix and CompactLogix, as well as the PlantPAx Process Automation system. Dion Bouwer, Product Manager - Platforms at Endress+Hauser, explains that, "For the end user, the primary advantage will be simplicity and speed of integration. Even our own research and development team was astounded by how quickly the Promass integrated into the Rockwell Automation Logix platform. It was literally a case of a few mouse clicks, as opposed to the 15 to 20 minutes it would take to configure over another network."
The units provide standard faceplate displays in the FactoryTalk system, and the on-board web server allows this simple configuration and commissioning, but this can also be achieved, if needed, via the display or via a service port using E+H FieldCare. The EDS file embedded in the devices for RSLogix 5000 integration allows immediate device recognition as a network node. All the common variables, status bits and both standard and advanced diagnostics from the flowmeters are visible from the control system display using the Ethernet communications bus at up to 100 Mbps, typically ten times faster than any other bus system.
E+H considers that the Promag with Ethernet will be particularly suited to applications in food and beverage and water/waste applications, which are the main areas for the existing Promag range, but the integration capability into Rockwell systems would seem to suggest that the Promass and Promag Ethernet units are targeting filling and blending applications and machine and skid builders operating in the hybrid process/discrete control industries, the typical users of Rockwell Automation systems. E+H also suggests that a typical application for the Promass would be in a blending skid, allowing the incoming flow of a number of raw ingredients to be tightly controlled, with a fast response time, helping to maintain the quality of the finished product. As well as measuring mass flow and density, the unit can also be used to measure viscosity online.
The promotion at present is based around the United States, Canada and Mexico markets, judging by the datasheet and the relevant website pages that can be located.
It will be interesting to see what the next products chosen for Ethernet development will be, in that with slow rates of change and hazardous area requirements, the E+H liquid level sensors are unlikely to benefit from such fast Ethernet interfacing. Will pressure sensors give more opportunities?