CC-Link Partner Association announces Ethernet based safety networking

by The CC-Link Team on 3 February 2012

CC-Link is a family of open network technologies that have a 10 year pedigree of growth in the global market, having now reached an installed base of over 8 million devices. A key part of this family are the CC-Link IE (Industrial Ethernet) variants, being the only open Ethernet based networks that offer gigabit performance.
CC-Link IE Field was introduced in 2009 to offer gigabit Ethernet performance between controllers and field devices such as I/O, inverters, HMI and other machine components. The CLPA has now announced a significant extension to the capabilities of CC-Link IE Field, by adding a fully IEC 61508 SIL 3 compliant safety protocol layer. This means that with a single open Ethernet based network, system designers can integrate conventional and safety control. Further, compatible safety devices can connect directly to the network, reducing cost and increasing flexibility. Rather than having to implement a costly independent safety network, designers can now simply add safety devices as required, using the existing CC-Link IE Field network infrastructure. To maintain the vital safety control, the safety devices are operated by a dedicated safety controller that works independently of the main network controller.
John Browett, Acting General Manager of CLPA Europe commented, “CC-Link IE Field is a groundbreaking technology that puts CC-Link ahead of the market by virtue of its unmatched gigabit performance. The addition of the safety capabilities further maintains that leadership position. In any safety application, dependability and performance are paramount. Machine builders and system designers can choose CC-Link IE Field knowing that its response to emergencies will be immediate. When life or limb is at stake, milliseconds can make the difference between a narrow escape and a serious or even fatal injury.”
Browett further commented, “While IEC 61508 does not attempt to completely eliminate risk from a system, it attempts to mitigate it to the lowest possible level based on what is considered acceptable for the application. CC-Link IE Field provides a flexible safety solution that meets the needs of a wide range of applications, independent of their level of risk.”

“We usually try to promote CC-Link as being “The Non-Stop Open Network™, to explain how its technical features translate directly into business benefits by being able to maintain productivity even in adverse operating conditions. However, this new safety technology demonstrates that sometimes it’s just as important to stop rather than go.”

The safety capabilities further demonstrate CLPA’s commitment to developing CC-Link’s core technologies. CC-Link IE has shown a steady history of advancement. Originally launched in 2007 for controller level networking (CC-Link IE Control), since then CLPA has shown a track record of driving gigabit performance to all levels of the hierarchy. Further developments are planned for the near future, including an Ethernet based motion control network.

CC-Link is accepted as being the leading technology for the Asian market. As demand for safety functions increases in this market, it’s clear that European companies will also be implementing it to allow them to compete in that vital region.

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