Equipment design with modular fieldbus

We recently completed a large equipment build. The machine itself was massive, nearly 150ft long and 30ft wide. It was being manufactured as 8 shipping units. Using Ethernet field-bus we were able to reduce the site interconnection time to hours on a system with 100's of I/O spread over 4500sqft.

The Turck BL20's we used were easy to configure using the free PACTware software and integrated flawlessly with the Contrologix environment we were working in.

Building such a larger machine as modular assemblies with Ethernet based I/O made installation, commissioning, and troubleshooting simple. Modular assembly allows for more testing on the factory floor and less discovery in the field.

We assembled 8 marshaling cabinets with BL20 gateways, analog and digital I/O, and isolated power supplies. Each cabinet collected the I/O from its module to a single point with quick disconnect molded cord sets running out to devices.

The site cabling was reduced to 8 Teck90 power cables, 8 Cat 6 armoured data cables daisy chained between the cabinets (Turck BL20's have 2 data ports for just this reason, its beyond me why anybody would put only 1 RJ45 port on an Ethernet ready device). And while there were the normal programming and commissioning issues; at no point was there a need to check wiring terminations and troubleshoot errors. Everything had been shop tested.

For any machine designed to be broken down into multiple sections for shipping, Ethernet field bus can greatly reduce installation and commissioning times. I highly recommend the Turck BL20 for any machine build.

If anyone has any experience using the programmable Turck gateways with Codesys I would be very interested in hearing your experiences.

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