As development progresses and the benefits for the process industry become clearer, interest in and demand for the Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer, or Ethernet-APL for short, are growing. More and more users from all over the world are approaching our experts with questions. You will find the most important answers here–and thus seven good reasons why this technology should not be missing in your plant.
In fact, all of them, without exception, already offer Ethernet-APL. With the FieldConnex® rail field switch from Pepperl+Fuchs, the connection right into the field of the plant and thus the continuous communication can be easily realized—up to and including the selection of different protocols.
The first manufacturer to immediately announce complete instrumentation with Ethernet-APL for 2022 is Endress+Hauser, and others will follow. However, by the time of ACHEMA at the end of August 2022 at the latest, it can be safely assumed that announcements and presentations from suppliers will cause a lot of movement in the market.
This is the key question: with universal, barrier-free network access to instrumentation at high speed, all the advantages we know from everyday life with Ethernet can be transferred to the requirements of the process industry:
A field network, in conjunction with PROFINET or Ethernet/IP and appropriate hardware and software, enables applications with fully automated workflows interacting with field instruments. Specifically, this means, for example, that systems can provide the following functions and applications:
The experts from Pepperl+Fuchs will not be able to demonstrate the technology to you in a demo case as usual. The easiest way to implement a test configuration with Ethernet-APL is in your own environment with your control system or controller that you keep on hand for testing. From Pepperl+Fuchs you get a switch and the expert support. You request the field devices from your usual suppliers. You can then start testing immediately with a PROFINET controller and PROFIBUS PA field devices. Before you do this, however, you should set yourself goals. Describe expectations how the functions of a network infrastructure can make your daily work easier and develop respective test scenarios. The NAMUR epics, which describe various use cases, also provide inspiration for this.
Cybersecurity requires a systemic approach. Engineers consider attack scenarios and the network's vulnerability to protect it from unwanted access and plan for appropriate security measures. Example: On-site maintenance contractors need access to specific areas and only for a limited time—accordingly, access rights are granted on a very limited basis. In principle, Ethernet APL networks are expandable for all protocols.
NOA or the NAMUR Open Architecture defines lateral access to secondary information of the field instrumentation, such as configuration, alarms and diagnostics. Lateral means access independent of the control system and in parallel, so that the control system can remain unaffected and highly available in its configuration and thus process control.
NOA defines appropriate application scenarios for handling the instrumentation, such as
For this purpose, NAMUR defines OPC-UA as the preferred protocol, which is transmitted in parallel to the industrial protocol for plant control. Ethernet-APL is the data transmission link and physics that enables this parallel communication directly to the field device.
The Ethernet-APL rail field switch for DIN rail mounting, the latest FieldConnex® innovation, is the first product to enable direct, fast, barrier-free access to field devices of the process plant via Ethernet-APL. Learn more....
Ethernet-APL enables continuous communication across all hierarchy levels. Learn more about the pioneering technology …