[Links Updated 2/5/16] Usually open source discussions relate to the high technology industry–you know, Linux and the like. There is an open source PLC project at Source Forge that has not been active for a few years. Open source in another guise has popped up in the industrial automation industry. This is an open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices.

Developed by the Vienna University of Technology, it’s designed to connect a wide range of products using open communication standards. Developers can download the new license and royalty-free adapter stack through GitHub. Rockwell Automation has announced support for the stack.

The open-source communications stack was created and released to the global engineering community by the Odo Struger Laboratory team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology’s Automation and Control Institute. The stack is an open-source implementation of EtherNet/IP, an open network standard made available through ODVA.

“An open-source stack with a support community gives industrial product developers a faster, more cost-effective way to integrate their products with CIP-based networks like EtherNet/IP,” said Harry Forbes of ARC Advisory Group. “Using open source accelerates time to market, decreases software development risk, and reduces many costs of custom software development. In addition, the availability of a peer-reviewed open-source component for EtherNet/IP provides product suppliers with greater assurance of full interoperability.”

Developers can use the open-source adapter stack in a variety of EtherNet/IP I/O adapter-class products, including basic sensors, actuators, simple drives and I/O components. The lightweight, adapter-class stack is scalable and written in C.

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