The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 represent the future of industrial communication. However, implementing them requires fast, reliable communication from the field level to mobile, cloud-based applications.
Nowadays, field devices and sensors in process plants supply large amounts of data that could be collected, processed, and analyzed in the spirit of IIoT, but much of it remains unused. Ethernet enables the rapid transmission of this data and seamless communication between field devices, the process control system, and the cloud. For this reason, Ethernet has become the communication standard in factory automation.
In partnership with leading companies and associations, Pepperl+Fuchs is now laying the foundation for future IoT applications in the process industry through the Ethernet advanced physical layer (Ethernet-APL). It fulfills all of the central requirements for process plants, such as two-wire cables with long cable runs and interoperability. For the first time ever, modern Ethernet technology will be applicable in hazardous areas up to Zone 0 / Class 1, Div. 1.
Four aspects must be precisely defined to create a completely open infrastructure that provides the interoperability that users expect from Ethernet. First, IEEE 802.3 cg defines data communication as 10BASE-T1L. The Ethernet-APL Port Profile Specification defines power supply second and connections, cables, and accessories such as surge protection third. The port profile will be published in an IEC standard. Intrinsic safety is the fourth aspect, where a new chapter to the well-known standard for explosion protection defines the same simple approach to planning and validation that users appreciate with FISCO, see IEC TS60079-47, 2-WISE.