Machine Design

Multilingual valves simplify control

The move to Ethernet for industrial applications has been building momentum.

The VM10 valve island communicates over EtherNet/IP, ProfiNet I/O, and Modbus TCP/IP.

For many fieldbus users, it is now the preferred network for new installations, thanks to benefits such as fast communication speeds, an almost unlimited number of nodes allowed on a network, and long line lengths, according to Mark Densley, business development manager for System Valves with Norgren Inc., Littleton, Colo. ( Ethernet also handles large messages, making it suited for advanced diagnostic functions, and it can cut the cost and complexity of plant networks, he says.

To take advantage of this trend, Norgren has introduced two new products that add Ethernet capabilities to pneumatic systems. The VM10 valve island now comes with an integrated Ethernet node that can communicate on EtherNet/IP, ProfiNet I/O, and Modbus TCP/IP. In other words, the multimaster handles all protocols from one common platform, yielding simpler system architecture and lower software costs.

A built-in Web server helps with setup and troubleshooting. It lets technicians alter IP configurations, set and view outputs, and read diagnostic information. Users can force output states via the Web to aid installation and maintenance. They can also set safe states that the valves revert to should a connection fail. An optional power connection for each VM10 solenoid provides interlocking in safety-critical applications.

The system supports static and dynamic addressing, with rotary switches to select from DHCP, BOOTP, and STATIC options. A comprehensive help file includes information on the operating status of individual modules and the overall network, as well as data sheets on various valves compatible with the system. The Web server is password protected.

The VM10's compact, 10-mm-wide valves feature a Cv of 0.44 and flow capacity to 430 lpm. M12 connectors are IP65 rated for robust performance in industrial settings.

Complementing the VM10 is the FD67 distributed I/O system. It lets users control valve manifolds as well as digital and analog signals. It has 256 I/O per node and a Web server that simplifies setup and diagnostics. The FD67 supports the same protocols as VM10.

Marrying Ethernet's high-speed communications with clean, fast-acting pneumatics makes the VM10 a candidate for bottling and canning lines, and similar operations. And diagnostic functions make it well suited for semiconductor, packaging, medical, robotics, and other advanced automation applications.

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