Turck’s first explosion-proof Ethernet gateway for zone 2 for excom I/O systems

Turck’s first Ethernet gateway for the excom I/O system opens the door to digitalization and Industry 4.0 for the process industry. Condition monitoring and predictive maintenance can now be carried out quickly and easily, as all process data can now reach the IT system quickly via parallel communication for analysis and evaluation. Controllers and control systems are completely unaffected and unauthorized access can also be avoided. With its compact design, the system is not only suitable for installation in the field, but also in the control room.

The long innovation cycle in the field of process automation requires engineers to design with future installations and future automation technologies in mind. This is especially true for new facilities. And there is no doubt that in-depth diagnostics of processes and instruments will become increasingly important in the future.

In order to make efficient use of all the additional data, system planners need to consider all aspects when designing an automation system. Although the use of this data is not currently mandated, many factories that have been operating for decades have begun to integrate data channels and continue to optimize them. Anyone working on a real project must ensure that their automation systems support the NAMUR-defined Monitoring and Optimization (M+O).

In the monitoring and optimization of process data, dual Ethernet interfaces enable parallel data access; redundant gateways ensure high availability.

Fieldbus Bottleneck

In traditional fieldbus solutions, whether using Profibus DP, Profibus PA or Foundation Fieldbus solutions, the bus technology is the bottleneck for implementing various diagnostic functions, which are not performed by the sensor itself, but by outside the control system. The parent system executes. In other words, although HART, Profibus PA or FF fieldbus devices can already generate and transmit large amounts of data today, due to limited bandwidth (31.25 Kbit/s for Profibus PA and FF fieldbus, 1.5 Mbit/s for Profibus DP IS) , many of which are only used when equipment is replaced or calibrated. This big data is never used for process optimization, or early detection of issues such as wear and contamination (i.e. predictive maintenance).

Monitoring and optimization with parallel data

NAMUR identified this need and introduced the NAMUR Open Architecture (NOA) concept: NOA can establish independent data channels in parallel with the automation pyramid, without any impact on the field device, I/O system and control system level. Data can be transmitted and analyzed below the control system level via parallel channels, independently of conventional automation technology. Compared with operational technologies in the field of factory automation and control, the parallel channel approach can achieve faster innovation iterations of IT systems, which benefits significantly. In addition, this architecture precludes external access to the control system.

Ethernet for excom pioneers parallel access to process data

With the first Zone 2 Ethernet gateway, Turck has pioneered the possibility of parallel data access and high availability of excom I/O systems used in explosion-proof areas. In the autumn of 2019, automation specialist Turck has already launched the excom Ethernet gateway for non-Ex areas, but this time the gateway is designed for Ex Zone 2. The excom system has I/O modules with various input, output or other types of signals, and the replacement of the gateway module will not have any impact on the backplane and I/O modules. Intrinsically safe equipment in zone 0 can be directly connected to excom in zone 2 to process its input and output signals. This Zone 2 explosion proof Ethernet gateway can be installed directly on an existing backplane for use with other I/O modules.

In today’s new projects, excom for Ethernet communication can already be used in automation systems for parallel data access. However, in retrofit projects, most end users may only need to consider converting traditional signal transmission methods to Ethernet communication methods when they need to upgrade their control systems. In different application scenarios, excom can be used as an alternative Ethernet communication solution for parallel data access while retaining existing field instrumentation equipment. The excom can be installed either in the control room or in Zone 2 for use as remote I/O.

Space-saving installation in the control room

Since excom has integrated intrinsically safe isolation, there is no need to install an isolation barrier in the control cabinet. The original I/O module can be replaced with the excom system, and the field instrument signal can be received. This solution will be more compact than the traditional I/O and isolation barrier solution. Compared to other I/O systems with integrated explosion-proof isolation, Turck’s excom modules also generally require less space, which is an advantage in retrofit projects or modular process plants.

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