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Ethernet-APL gears up

May 18, 2023
The speedy, two-wire, single-pair Ethernet (SPE) network prepares to work in intrinsically safe (IS) and other hazardous areas

More often than anyone likes to think about, optimizing process applications is a lonely business. Users must often deploy sensors, instruments, I/O, controls and networks with far less precedence than they’d prefer about how well they’ll work together to fulfill the requirements of their individual applications. This know-how is even more important in safety processes, so even potential innovations like Ethernet-Advanced Physical Layer (APL) must be thoroughly evaluated before it can deliver on its promise of allowing Ethernet networking into intrinsically safe (IS) and other hazardous areas. Here’s the latest on how those efforts are proceeding.   

Putting Ethernet-APL to the test

So far, there are only two documented, user-based Ethernet-APL testbeds. The first at Procter & Gamble was covered by Control in last year’s version of this story. Here’s how BASF and its partners are adopting and testing Ethernet-APL for wider implementation in the future. Read here  

Faster for wider reach

Thanks to its far greater speed, Ethernet-APL can connect to more sensors, transmitters and other field devices, depending on what their existing DCS interface can handle. This is why the four standards development organizations (SDO) partnered with 12 suppliers to develop it. Read here

DIY on the physical layer

As with any industrial network project, understanding users’ underlying needs for Ethernet-APL is crucial to determining how to apply it and what technologies and training will be required. R. Stahl shows how users can implement the two-wire protocol in hazardous areas. Read here

Endress+Hauser sets a good example

In a further boost to applying Ethernet in intrinsically safe (IS) locations, Endress+Hauser reported March 30 that it just conducted two successful load tests of a realistic Ethernet-APL setup at its headquarters in Reinach, Switzerland. The tests were designed with end-user specifications from BASF and hardware from ABB, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell and Pepperl+Fuchs. Read here

Scaling up to gain speed

Emerson reports planning and infrastructure are crucial for Ethernet-APL installations. This is where it can help because it’s simpler to implement, much like familiar 4-20 mA, and can provide power and intrinsic safety along with communications using two-wire, twisted, shielded-pair cable. Read here

Suppliers beat Ethernet’s path to hazardous areas

While much of the inspiration for Ethernet-APL comes from user and standards bodies, most of the innovations and tools for making it happen comes from their supplier partners, such as Phoenix Contact, Rockwell Automtion, Softing and Yokogawa.. Here’s their take on how it’s unfolding. Read here

Nine ways to understand Ethernet-APL

Control's monthly resources guide. Read here

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