The drive for digital transformation has increased the demand for connectivity solutions that can easily pull advanced data from industrial field devices. In the commercial space, Ethernet has long been the go-to solution for data access, however historically Ethernet has been too expensive and difficult to install in industrial devices. Instead, the global standard for communication at the field level has been 4-20mA loops with HART, which accounts for over 60% of all installed field devices. This is poised to change however, with the newly developed Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (Ethernet-APL) standard. Ethernet-APL extends Ethernet to field devices by providing an integrated solution for delivering power, data, and hazardous area safety over two wires.
Andy opened the presentation by describing Ethernet-APL (advanced physical layer). It’s a wired connection for measurement and control. It is complementary to other communications technologies like Bluetooth and WirelessHART. Ethernet provides benefits over existing communications protocols. Ethernet has barriers in not being available for 2-wire devices, requires separate device power, and is not intrinsically safe.
However, it has many benefits in transparent connections, integrated cybersecurity, IT/OT-enabled convergences, multiple protocols, and high-speed & bandwidth communications. Ethernet-APL is the physical layer of the ISO/OSI interconnect model, like other physical layers such as conventional ethernet and wireless.
Ethernet-APL is intrinsically safe, 200m length between devices & switches, and is widely supported as an interoperability standard with a focus on process automation. This standard is different from the PoE (power over Ethernet) physical layer. The Ethernet-APL standard is widely supported among automation and instrumentation suppliers.
From an Emerson portfolio perspective, analytical, Coriolis, and magnetic meters will likely be the earliest adopters due to the quantity and complexity of data. Next, digital valve controllers, radar level gauges, and multivariable transmitters, Then, vortex, pressure, temperature, and other single process variable devices will likely adopt the standard. All these intelligent devices have configuration and diagnostic data that can be shared back to the control system. Secure by design with all the Ethernet protocols, including encryption and compliance with the ISASecure certifications.
Anupa contrasted today’s system architecture with field networks and area control networks connecting field devices, controllers, and control system workstations. The first-generation Ethernet-APL solution includes the DeltaV PK controller and APL switches to connect the field devices with the controller. The second generation will likely include an APL channel in a DeltaV CHARM. AMS Device Manager connectivity will also be available with Ethernet-APL switches.
Learn more about the Ethernet-APL standard and the automation suppliers who support it.