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(also Ethernet Industrial Protocol)

EtherNet/IP definition

EtherNet/IP is a network protocol used in industrial settings like factories. It adapts the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) to standard Ethernet. It's designed for controlling machines and processes. EtherNet/IP is popular because it works well with traditional computer networks and can be easily integrated into different industrial environments.

See also: communication protocol

EtherNet/IP use cases:

  • Manufacturing automation. In factories, EtherNet/IP connects machines, sensors, and control systems. This helps automate production lines, monitor equipment performance, and coordinate complex manufacturing processes.
  • Process control. EtherNet/IP helps control variables like temperature, pressure, and flow rates in chemical, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries.
  • Robotics. EtherNet/IP facilitates communication between robots and control systems. This is essential for tasks like assembly, welding, and material handling.
  • Packaging and labeling. EtherNet/IP coordinates the operation of machines that fill, seal, label, and package products.
  • Remote monitoring and maintenance. EtherNet/IP reduces the need for on-site inspections for equipment spread over large areas.

Critical aspects of EtherNet/IP:

  • Regular Ethernet. It uses the same cables, switches, and other hardware components familiar in typical computer networks.
  • Particular language for machines. EtherNet/IP employs CIP for its network, transport, and application layers. This allows EtherNet/IP to handle industrial tasks.
  • Two ways to communicate:
    • General messages. For less urgent information, like setting up a machine or getting a status report.
    • Real-time messages. For important, time-sensitive tasks, like telling a machine to start or stop immediately.
  • Organized information. EtherNet/IP catalogs information about each machine into a set of categories, making it easier to control and get data from them.
  • Flexible network setup. EtherNet/IP can be customized to suit the layout of the factory.