Ethernet-APL with ABB System 800xA & Field Information Manager

Flexible I/O & Device Management Solutions

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What is APL and its benefits?
Ethernet-APL, or Advanced Physical Layer, is a new standard allowing Ethernet to power and communicate with process instrumentation over long distances via a single twisted pair shielded cable. Ethernet-APL resolves several of the challenges present when attempting to use traditional Ethernet for industrial applications and is specially advantageous when used with widely adopted PROFINET and FDI technologies.

Key Benefits of Ethernet-APL

• Powering of instruments including the limiting of voltage and current for
  intrinsically safety applications.
• Simultaneous access to process, device configuration, and diagnostic data for
  control and device management.
• Accommodation of trunk and spur topologies with a maximum of 1000 meters.
• Works with common industrial Ethernet protocols such as PROFINET, OPC UA, etc. 
• Ethernet deployment alternatives from simple point to point to a network ring
  with media redundancy for increased availability. 

System 800xA and Field Information Manager are
Ethernet-APL ready.

ABB Ability™ System 800xA® 
System 800xA and its Power of Integration provides seamless field device communications of various Ethernet based fieldbus technologies allowing for flexible I/O solutions with optimized performance. PROFINET is a dominant platform for industrial Ethernet and provides several features tailored specifically to its use in process automation environments, including redundancy, ability for online configuration, PA-Profile and safety (with PROFISafe). 

System 800xA’s native AC 800M process controller’s PROFINET communications interface (CI871A) together with the new generation of Ethernet-APL devices (based on PROFINET with PA-Profile 4.02) provides the ultimate solution for unified, cost-effective communication and device interoperability. 

As Ethernet-APL devices are still entering the market, control systems are sometimes designed to be “APL device ready”. This means building a complete PROFINET and Ethernet-APL field switch infrastructure but connecting PROFIBUS PA devices to the Ethernet-APL switch until there is a corresponding native Ethernet-APL device available. AC 800M with CI871A fully supports such a PROFINET proxy configuration.

BASF selects ABB for greenfield projects
after a successful Ethernet-APL trial

ABB Ability™ Field Information Manager 
The Field Information Manager (FIM) is the device management tool of choice for configuration, commissioning, diagnostics and maintenance of fieldbus instruments. FIM provides a direct bridge to the PROFINET network where FIM scans, auto-detects, and assigns device packages to the connected Ethernet-APL devices.

Ethernet-APL field devices are integrated either via Field Device Integration (FDI) packages or via the latest PA Profile 4.02 device package to support device interoperability. Ethernet-APL field switches are also integrated in FIM, enabling configuration and diagnostic checking using the same workflow and tooling.

FIM also provides an OPC UA interface for external applications such as asset performance management to retrieve device diagnostic and performance data. The Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM) can be applied on this OPC UA to further streamline the interface being used for the data streaming via ABB Ability™ Edgenius to cloud.

Ethernet-APL configuration for System 800xA

Ethernet-APL offers an ideal fit for process plants, especially when  it’s deployed in combination with widely adopted PROFINET and FDI technologies.

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