An Open Ended Network Architecture for Integrated Control and Manufacturing
Integrated plant wide automation has become popular with advances in LAN technology. Inter communication among plant machinery is being implemented with standard protocols and manufacturing message formats upto application level embedded in the machinery and equipment. However problem lies in integration of already existing equipment which are heterogenious with variety of non standard interfaces. This paper presents design aspects of Network Interface Unit (NIU) with specialised architecture by which such systems can be brought into an integrated network. The NIU has interface to standard network on one side and to non standard systems with nonstandard protocols on the other side. The NIU with open architecture is expandable and interfacable to a wide variety of plant machinery and process instrumentation. The node also acts as a cluster interfacing heterogenious types of devices and also takes up message translation activity to interface standard message protocols to proprietary ones. A LAN designed and developed with above approach was tested in a process industry. The paper presents approches and methodologies used and discusses implementation experiences of the Network.
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