Ethernet has already established itself as the leading networking technology of the 21st century, and Rockwell Automation’s portfolio of Variable Frequency Drives has taken full advantage of the technology.  With so many options, many are left wondering “How best do I leverage Ethernet with my Drives?”  Here is a quick take on  effective ways to include a drive in an Ethernet network:

Use Managed Ethernet Switches

Managed Ethernet switches with DHCP persistence streamline the process of Drive control implementation.  Without a managed switch in a large network, however, individual devices, such as Drives, may be overwhelmed with messages and fail to operate as expected.  Managed switches eliminate this problem by effectively interpreting which of its ethernet ports a message is intended for, significantly reducing Ethernet traffic and ensuring proper system operation.  In addition to this, automatic device configuration (ADC), a significant feature of Rockwell Drives, requires the use of a managed switch.  You can learn more about ADC here.

Use a Device Level Ring

When outfitted with the appropriate dual-port Ethernet module, PowerFlex VFD’s can join a device level ring (DLR). A DLR topology can remove the need for multiple Ethernet switches, saving both space and money. Furthermore, a DLR allows up to one break to occur within the network ring without losing connectivity. This allows for the removal and installation of one device into the ring without loss of overall connectivity. Not only does a DLR have a space-saving attribute, but automatic device configuration also works with DLR configurations when integrated with a managed switch.

About Managed Switches

Managed switches gain their name from their formability.  Each switch has internal software, accessible via a web-based platform that allows the user to assign specific IP addresses to specific ports (DHCP) and can even be configured to lock out ports from unwanted internet access, a convenient security feature.  Stratix 5700 switches are also capable of Quality of Service analysis and CIP Sync protocols, significant to use with networked safe torque off applications.  For more information about Stratix Managed switches, click here, and click here for a quick video describing the advantages of Stratix managed switches, offered by Rockwell Automation.