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'Revolution in mass flow measurement'

20 November 2009

Rockwell Automation Strategic Alliance Partner, Endress+Hauser has unveiled what it describes as the first Coriolis Mass Flow Meter to integrate with RA’s Integrated Architecture using ODVA’s EtherNet/IP protocol

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Adding yet further capabilities to Rockwell Automation's Logix platform and its PlantPAx Process Automation System solution, Endress+Hauser has launched the Promass 83 Coriolis Mass Flow Meter with EtherNet/IP connectivity. Rockwell Automation further complements this hardware development with the software tools for RSLogix 5000 and FactoryTalk View integration as part of a PlantPAx system. Some of the benefits jointly delivered include reduced network count, simpler installation, seamless integration and reduced programming time.

The result of a project started eight months ago, the new EtherNet/IP-enabled Promass 83 is designed to offer process system designers greater freedom and choice in their selection of components and architectures. The device already caters for a number of other communication protocols, such as PROFIBUS, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and MODBUS. EtherNet/IP is a leading Industrial Ethernet variant, and so the addition of an EtherNet/IP capability makes the Promass 83 even more attractive to machine and skid builders operating in the hybrid process/discrete control industries.

Dion Bouwer, product manager - Platforms at Endress+Hauser, explains: "We see a number of our joint customers with Rockwell Automation are increasing their usage of EtherNet/IP in automated systems and so it was no surprise when several of them approached us last year asking for Ethernet and EtherNet/IP capabilities to be built into the device.”

"For the end user, the primary advantage will be simplicity and speed of integration," Bouwer continues. "Some protocols require additional remote I/O devices and a separate fieldbus protocol to handle communications; with this new device variant, these are now unnecessary. From the speed perspective, even our own research and development team was astounded by how quickly it integrated into Rockwell Automation's Logix platform. It was literally a case of a few mouse clicks, as opposed to the 15-20 minutes it would take to configure over another network."

Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, Director, Integrated Architecture, EMEA Region at Rockwell Automation, explains the user benefits from Rockwell Automation's perspective: "The EtherNet/IP interface gives users direct access to device data without additional configuration or programming. By using a standard, unmodified protocol this data can then be shared seamlessly and very easily across the entire network. It can then be viewed either on line-side HMIs or, via existing Ethernet networks, on computers in offices and control rooms – even remotely over the Internet.
"Our RSLogix 5000 programming environment treats the Promass 83 in the same way as any of our I/O modules, intelligent sensors or actuators," Weinhofer elaborates. "By using the Add-On Profile that we have added to our extensive library, the module can be simply added to the I/O configuration of the project. This creates pre-defined tags meaning it takes literally seconds to integrate. A FactoryTalk View Global Object is also available. This is a graphical element which can be used for SCADA HMIs or networked computers – the result being that the device can be extremely easily integrated into both the programming and visualisation environments."

A typical application for the Promass 83 would see it in a blending skid, allowing the incoming flow of a number of raw ingredients to be tightly controlled, helping to maintain the quality of the finished product. As well as measuring mass flow and density, the unit can also be used to measure viscosity. In-line viscosity meters are often very expensive meaning that many viscosity readings are done in a lab, rather than in the line. With this device, users can measure viscosity, on-line in real time and adjust control parameters accordingly – rather than waiting for lab results. The device is also capable of measuring gasses.

Joerg Herwig, Director Marketing at Endress+Hauser Flowtec, concludes: "This product-development programme is a graphic example of how Endress + Hauser works with one of its Strategic Partners to address market needs.

Both companies realised that there was demand for this capability and by working together we have created a device which has a tremendous potential to be a 'game changer' as one customer put it."

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