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Rockwell Automation sponsors release of open-source software stack

08 December 2009

Open-source EtherNet/IP communication stack developed by the Vienna University of Technology cost effectively connects I/O devices.

Rockwell Automation announced that it is supporting the release of a free, open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices. The open-source communications stack was created and released to the global engineering community by the Odo Struger Laboratory team of researchers from the Vienna University of Technology's Automation and Control Institute.

The stack is an open-source implementation of EtherNet/IP, a network standard made available through ODVA. EtherNet/IP uses the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) on standard, unmodified Ethernet to enable communications between machine I/O and enterprise information systems, connecting factory-floor devices to business-level systems. Access to plant and production information allows users to effectively manage real-time control and information flow throughout the manufacturing enterprise, which helps drive improved management and decision-making.

"An open-source stack with a support community gives industrial product developers a faster, more cost-effective way to integrate their products with CIP-based networks like EtherNet/IP," said Harry Forbes of ARC Advisory Group. "Using open source accelerates time to market, decreases software development risk, and reduces many costs of custom software development. In addition, the availability of a peer-reviewed open-source component for EtherNet/IP provides product suppliers with greater assurance of full interoperability."

Developers can use the open-source adapter stack in a variety of EtherNet/IP I/O adapter-class products, including basic sensors, actuators, simple drives and I/O components. The lightweight, adapter-class stack is scalable and written in the widely used C programming language. Its modularity and flexibility make it useful to developers seeking a low- or no-cost communication stack for simple EtherNet/IP products.

Developers can download the new license and royalty-free adapter stack through SourceForge.net

For details about EtherNet/IP network solutions and other product offerings from Rockwell Automation, visit www.ab.com/networks/ethernet.

--Edited by Renee Robbins, Control Engineering News Desk


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