Update

We were finally able to gather a number of Rockwell Automation specialists and me together to take a deeper dive into the new Kinetix 6500 servo motion drive with EtherNet/IP CIP Motion embedded. I felt there was much more to this news than I saw in the press release that I reported here. Not a usual situation for editors and press releases, to be sure.

First, the Kinetix 6500 is shipping.

Next, a little more detail to the architecture. Previous generations of Rockwell servo drives used Sercos II for communication. This is a separate network from Ethernet, therefore data sharing and other things were more awkward. This drive simply plugs into the EtherNet/IP network (actually, an Ethernet network, but the devices that communicate must talk CIP). So the architecture would be a controller, such as ControlLogix, with an Ethernet card. The drive joins the network along with other I/O devices and/or other drives, such as the PowerFLex 755 series variable frequency drive. Because all these drives are on the same network now, they share a common configuration and programming set from the Logix 5000 programming software.

The network uses standard Ethernet Quality of Service technology to give priority to the timed protocol over other network traffic. Network architecture can be daisy chain, star, ring or hybrid. The new DLR switch on a ring uses technology from ODVA, which according to Brian Oulton, director of the Networks business for Rockwell, “Is the fastest switch over on a redundant ring topology I’ve seen.” On a redundant Ethernet ring when one line breaks, it switches over in 3 msec.

As far as other devices on this network, if the user has done the standard upgrades to ver. 18 or later of software and firmware, then they’ll work.

Some other cool features that come with this new Ethernet technology includes time stamping of events and alarms. Information provided to the user of great help in troubleshooting problems and understanding machine operations include sequence of events and a fault history log that are all time stamped. You can check out extended features on the Rockwell Web site for details on these and the extensive safety features that are available.

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