The instrumentation manufacturer Endress+Hauser conducted two load tests of a realistic Ethernet-APL setup with components from various manufacturers. Ethernet-APL has shown that expectations in the process industry for the new physical layer were met.
The load tests were designed according to customer specifications to prove that components from different manufacturers can be combined to create a system based on Ethernet-APL. The global chemical company BASF defined the requirements from the customers’ point of view. On the hardware suppliers’ side, Endress+Hauser stood next to German manufacturing company Pepperl+Fuchs, multinational conglomerate corporation Honeywell and automation company ABB. Their components were confirmed to work together.
Load tests prove market readiness of Ethernet-APL
The first test was set up with nearly 240 Endress+Hauser measuring devices, including flow, pressure, temperature and level sensors. They were integrated into a system with Pepperl+Fuchs’ field switches and a Honeywell control system, all using Ethernet-APL and PROFINET. For the second test ABB provided the control system and was tested along with the previous field switches and measuring devices.
The test results were conclusive. Ethernet-APL can be used under realistic circumstances. The test cases were carried out with maximum network layout, and the scalability and fault tolerance were verified. All relevant requirements like total netload or redundancy switch-over times were met or exceeded.
Open Integration partner programme enabled and supported tests
The Endress+Hauser Open Integration partner programme unites manufacturers that want to ensure the streamlined interaction of their complementary products. The partners test and document the integration of their offerings and how digitalisation may be fully utilised within typical process automation applications.
Jörg Reinkensmeier, head of the Open Integration partner programme at Endress+Hauser said, “The cooperation with our Open Integration partners made it possible to validate this technology. We have reached a milestone of bringing Ethernet to the field level of process automation.”
Ethernet-APL opens new possibilities for data use
Ethernet-APL enables the use of Ethernet at the field level of process plants. The two-wire technology with communication over the same wire pair meets the requirements of harsh process environments. Digital data transmission with high bandwidth is possible over long distances and in explosive atmospheres. Easy access to data from field instruments can lift process automation to a new level of efficiency.
BASF, Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs, Honeywell and ABB have taken a step towards a technological infrastructure that is open and ready for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This will enable customers to create more flexible and cost-effective industrial systems with benefits for the industry.
Endress+Hauser is soon launching a portfolio of Ethernet-APL measuring devices that transmit data via the PROFINET protocol.