Open networks are an established feature of the modern automation landscape. The benefits they offer in terms of freedom of choice, flexibility, performance and cost savings are widely accepted. In recent years, this acceptance has also spread to the adoption of Ethernet for open network technologies. The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) has introduced CC-Link IE (Industrial Ethernet) in 2007 and following this with CC-Link IE Field Ethernet Based Open Network in 2009. These networks offer Ethernet based open network with 1Gbps transmission speeds. Offering a Ethernet based solution whether networking multiple controllers or connecting multiple field devices to a controller.
A motion control function is now also supported, allowing CC-Link IE to address an even wider range of applications while delivering further benefits to system designers and machine builders. The motion control function is supported by the addition of a synchronous communication function to the existing CC-Link IE Ethernet stack. This permits the precise synchronised control of multiple axes. However, besides offering high performance motion control, a key benefit of the new functionality is the cost savings offered.
Since the functionality is carried by a CC-Link IE Field network, this means that a machine can be built using a single network that combines all machine functions. Taking into account the recently announced safety function, this means that cost savings can be significant, as only one network is required.
John Browett, Acting General Manager of the CC-Link Partner Association says: "Industry is under increasing pressure to do more with less. The days of being able to run multiple networks on a machine to handle different functions such as I/O, motion and safety are quickly ending. The CLPA has a track record of keeping CC-Link at the front of technological trends, and our new motion function for CC-Link IE is further proof of this. We believe that this will make CC-Link an even more compelling choice for companies who are seeking to further reduce cost while simultaneously looking for the performance to stay one step ahead of the competition. In particular, we expect to see CC-Link IE increase its penetration in motion specific applications such as packaging and its related industries of food & beverage and consumer packaged goods. We also believe that the ability to combine multiple functions on a single network will significantly reduce cost of ownership for machine users through reduced complexity and maintenance requirements. Finally, our unique gigabit performance means that all this can be delivered with cycle times that put users at the forefront of performance for their industry sectors."