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CC-Link adds motion control and safety functions

17 December, 2011

The CC-Link industrial networking technology has been extended to add support for motion control and Ethernet-based safety. The extensions could help users to cut costs as well as improving performance, suggests the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA).

The new motion function for CC-Link IE (Industrial Ethernet) adds a synchronous communication function to the existing IE stack, allowing precisely synchronised control of multiple axes. The CLPA says it could cut machine-building costs by using a single network that combines all machine functions.

“We expect to see CC-Link IE increase its penetration in motion-specific applications such as packaging and related industries of food and beverage and consumer packaged goods,” says John Browett, acting general manager of the CLPA in Europe. “We also believe that the ability to combine multiple functions on a single network will significantly reduce cost of ownership for machine users through reduced complexity and maintenance requirements. Our unique gigabit performance means that this can be delivered with cycle times that put users at the forefront of performance for their industry sectors.”

In the second enhancement, the CLPA has added an IEC 61508 SIL 3 compliant safety protocol layer to CC-Link IE Field. This will allow system designers to integrate conventional and safety control on a single, open, Ethernet-based network.

Rather than having to implement an independent safety network, designers can add compatible safety devices directly to an existing CC-Link IE Field network. The safety devices are operated by a dedicated safety controller that works independently of the main network controller.

Browett believes that CC-Link’s gigabit performance will be a particular advantage for safety applications. “Machine-builders and system designers can choose CC-Link IE Field knowing that its response to emergencies will be immediate,” he says. “When life or limb is at stake, milliseconds can make the difference between a narrow escape and a serious or even fatal injury.”

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