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CC-Link: The fruits of cooperation

Presaged one year back and debuting here: At this year‘s show CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) and PI (Profibus & Profinet International) presented a joint specification of their two networking variants CC-Link IE and Profinet.

CC-Link Bildquelle: © CLPA

Signed and sealed one year ago by Prof. Fumihiko Kimura (CLPA chairman) and Karsten Schneider (PI chairman) (right) and now delivered: seamless communication between CC-Link IE and Profinet.

This is the follow-up to an announcement by the two network organizations at the SPS IPC Drives show in 2015 in which they proposed maximum transparency between the two protocols.

A working group, in which members of leading network specialists Hilscher and Molex were represented, devised a specification enabling synergy of the two. CC-Link IE is a recognized technology leader on the Asian market, while Profinet dominates in Europe. The new specification will consequently very much simplify integration, and expand the choice for end-users who purchase their resources and devices worldwide. The specification describes the functionality of a ‘coupler‘ to enable transparent communication between CC-Link IE and Profinet. In this way the two networks exchange data seamlessly and efficiently for communication between different parts of a production line in separate networks for instance. Both CLPA and PI expect market launch of the first supported products in the course of 2017.

The 100-Mbit variant

Extra to that, CLPA has now presented CC-Link IE Field Network Basic: a technology of open Gigabit Ethernet CC-Link IE that makes 100-Mbit devices compatible with CC-Link IE just by software development at master and device level. This is also intended to show companies the way into CC-Link IE whose devices do not yet support Gigabit Ethernet. Dispensing with hardware development substantially simplifies implementation of master stations on industrial PCs. On a final note, CC-Link IE Field Network Basic enhances compatibility with other Ethernet technologies using TCP/IP and UDP/IP. To attract interest in the new technology, CLPA announced a special scheme by which companies that develop a CC-Link IE Field Network Basic product can have it certified by CLPA free of charge.