Universal IC for all Ethernet Protocols
How a specialist for high-voltage generation discovered a compact communications device from Hilscher which is open for all kinds of alternatives.
Hilscher India Pvt Ltd
To find a smaller, simpler and most of all more cost-effective solution for high-voltage generation.
Integrating a production system into a specific environment requires using the right network protocols. Just as important is finding a reliable solution which easily adapts to a wide range of requirements. A German specialist for high-voltage generation systems was confronted with such a task and discovered a compact communications device from Hilscher which is open for all kinds of alternatives.
Schnier Elektrostatik GmbH is considered a pacemaker in the field of high-voltage generation systems. The company was founded in 1977 in Reutlingen, Germany and is known for its high-voltage generating solutions which are typically used in electrostatic coating processes.
Each Volkswagen produced at the German Wolfsburg facility was coated with Schnier high-voltage technology, while at the paint shop of the Porsche plant near Stuttgart, Germany, special electric filters with Schnier high-voltage technology take care of clean air.
New product, new solution
The very latest product range from Schnier is named smart-E 310. It was developed with the goal to find a smaller, simpler and most of all more cost-effective solution for high-voltage generation. It houses not only the technology for high-voltage generation, but also integrates the complete electronic system to control the generator, as well as the interface technology to integrate the system into the fieldbus communications infrastructure of the coating system.
Originally the real time protocol CANopen was used for communication between smart-E 310 and the process control system. But Schnier is flexible in this aspect and also offers machine manufacturers in the field of electrostatic coating other fieldbus systems. In course of time, the company noticed an increased demand for Ethernet/IP and decided to offer an additional model featuring this protocol.
Specialists among themselves
Naturally, a specialist such as Schnier needs to live up to very special requirements and cannot always rely on standard components that can be procured anywhere on the market. In addition, Schnier is a company focusing on its original know-how in the field of high-voltage generation, while relying on external system partners when it comes to peripheral technologies.
One of them is Hilscher, headquartered in Hattersheim, Germany. The company has specialised in infrastructure components in the field of system automation and has in-depth knowledge of the various protocols used for fieldbus communication.
Hilscher was asked to provide a compact Ethernet/IP adapter which was suitable to work within the demanding operating environment of a paint shop. In addition, the component needed to work with 3.3 volts to match the electronics of the high-voltage generator with its integrated control system.
Hilscher was able to offer exactly the right solution simply off the shelf. It is called netIC 50-RE, which describes a completely sealed communications unit with passive cooling, which was small enough for integration into the extremely compact cabinet of the smart-E 310.
Made for real-time communication
Hilscher's netIC is a single-chip module featuring the compact dimensions of a DIL-32 IC. It is based upon the proven netX range of network controllers from Hilscher and includes all components of a fieldbus or real-time Ethernet interface with integrated 2-port switch and hub. This netIC was designed primarily for simple field devices, such as barcode scanners, identification systems, valve assemblies or digital/analogue IO units. This means, its primary application range are applications with relatively low data throughput which need to work within a real-time communications environment.
netIC can be used as slave. Depending on the firmware it can handle any standard real time Ethernet protocol on the market. The module is shipped with pre-loaded firmware and there for ready to run.
This means Schnier did not need to provide a specific module for each protocol, but was able to adapt its new smart E 310 range of high-voltage generators to the system environment of the customer by simply loading the respective firmware. This not only saved costs by reducing the number of parts to be held on stock. It also turned the smart E 310 into a cost-effective solution which combined highly compact dimension with the advantage to easily integrate into any machine concept and any system environment.
Once two partners have joined efforts to come up with a pace making product, they will most likely stick together and look for more opportunities to shape the future with innovative solutions. With Hilscher and Schnier this is not any different:
After Ethernet/IP, Schnier presently works at smart-E models for Profinet and Sercos in order to complete its product portfolio. Sometimes it is a seemingly inconspicuous solution that paves the way to a completely new range of applications.
Device manufactures needs multi protocol connectivity to serve a wide range of automation applications and vertical market segments in order to grow business and these OEMS are quiet open to experiment Hilscher’s hi-tech industrial communication solutions and this trend is increasing day by day due to the fact that there is only one hardware – netIC 50-RE for implementation of all Ethernet protocols like Profinet, Ethernet/IP, Modbus/TCP, EtherCAT, Sercos, Ethernet Powerlink, Varan, etc. So OEMs do not need to have a specific Product Code for each separate protocol, they can adapt its entire range of products to any Protocol requirement of end user by simply loading the respective firmware. This not only secures investment but 100% flexibility reduces logistic and administrative effort to save costs by reducing the number of parts to be held on stock.
To select any protocol, the customer has to just download that particular protocol's firmware into NIC 50-RE during start up. These firmwares are freely available for immediate download at www.hilscher.com in the product section.
In addition NIC 50-RE has UART host interface which can be Modbus RTU Master or Slave. Also it supports SPI as well and in case you don't have controller on board still you can get any Ethernet protocol for your device by using shift registers, with very low Refresh sequence of 2ms, In addition operating voltage for netIC is 3.3V, 400mA which is mostly used for recent high speed microcontrollers. That's not the end, this IC also has integrated two port Ethernet switch for real time Ethernet.
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