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EtherNet/IP gains process device profiles

May 1, 2023
ODVA reports profiles standardize variables and diagnostics to ease optimization and interoperability

ODVA reported at Hannover Messe on Apr. 17 that process device profiles have been added to the EtherNet/IP specification to give users another tool to optimize plant operations. These profiles are reported to provide a standard format for process variables and diagnostics across many devices for smoother vendor interoperability and easier DCS and PLC data integration from EtherNet/IP-enabled field devices.

EtherNet/IP process device profiles are available for Coriolis, electromagnetic and vortex flowmeters, and standard and scaled pressure devices. This lets users take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with better communication of critical diagnostics, such as NAMUR NE 107 status signals and improved alignment with the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM).

“The introduction of process device profiles to EtherNet/IP is another critical step in meeting the full set of requirements of the process industries,” says Dr. Al Beydoun, president and executive director of ODVA. “EtherNet/IP process device profiles will help end users operate plants with superior yields, minimal downtime and reduced costs. Plus, better integration with PA-DIM will help process automation practitioners have the most valuable diagnostics and process variables available in both the control room and in the cloud to allow for enhanced insights and timely intervention measures for optimization of operations.”

Process objects track devices

More specifically, the profiles consist 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 give users easier access to additional device and process status information. These objects help convert sensor signals and actuator positions into useful data that enable actions to improve operational efficiency and end-product quality.

In addition, the profiles can help evaluate the reliability of measuring signals, and aid in preventing plant shutdowns by identifying premature device failures. For instance, 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 lets users shift from time-based maintenance to condition-based maintenance.

Simulating measurement values

EtherNet/IP process device profiles were designed with added parameters and modified data types to better align with PA-DIM, which is a joint standard by the FieldComm Group, ISA100 WCI, NAMUR, ODVA, OPC Foundation, PI, VDMA and ZVEI organizations. PA-DIM represents information from process devices in a standardized way for easier access.

In addition to exposing measurement values and the quality or status of those values, EtherNet/IP process device profiles can also simulate measurement values. This lets critical safety functions, such as partial-stroke valve tests, take place without interfering with process data. The standard formatting of live process variables, data totals and diagnostics that process device profiles provide will also increase vendor interoperability for end users because data will be the same across EtherNet/IP devices regardless of vendor. 

Similarly, using process device profiles adds to EtherNet/IP’s process automation capability, including its ability to employ its physical layer. Ethernet-APL unlocks the advantages of commercial industrial control hardware, 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 standards covering single-pair Ethernet (IEEE 802.3cg-2019, 10BASE-T1L), engineered power, intrinsic safety (IS) (IEC 60079, 2-WISE) and Type A fieldbus cable (IEC 61158-2, for IS) that can reach 1 km distances and speeds of 10Mbit/s.

Likewise, 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 new digitized device description files, including FDT, FDI and xDS, to simplify integration into process asset management tools. In fact, ODVA just released concurrent connections allowing failsafe controller redundancy for critical process applications.

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.