CC-Link IE (Industrial Ethernet)

This is a group of open networks that provide and transmit information and data to the control unit and in doing so, provide an integrated solution for automation on many levels. These networks offer a high transmission speed and deterministic communication via single or multiple lines for data exchange with a multitude of products from various manufacturers. Many systems with CC-Link/IE networks are well suited for the controlling of individual machines, production islands or processes in all fields of industry. CC-Link/IE also is successfully used in the controlling of entire installations or factories.

Control and communications link as known as CC-Link was provided by Mitsubishi as its own network for connecting own products with each other for the automation of installations. Because of the large demand, CC-Link was marketed as open networks. The CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association) was founded in order to continuously develop the network technology in an open environment and to further expand it as a successful solution for industrial application sectors.

Currently, there are four versions of CC-Link networks, which supplement each other and cover different aspects of communication. Standard CC-Link is an industrial network that transmits control data as well as information at a high speed and in doing so, ensures successful installation or process automation. This network on the control and manufacturing level connects a wide range of devices with high transmission speed and deterministic exchange of data via a single line. CC-Link is available in version 1.1 and version 2.0. These mainly differ from each other in the number of data that can be exchanged between two stations. The versions can be operated together in a network. CC-Link/LT is a bit-oriented system that was created for the use of actuators and sensors. It reduces and simplifies the work involved in connection of devices with the switch cabinet. Errors during connection are prevented by profiled lines that prevent incorrect polarity, and the installation time is minimized. 3-wire lines can also be used. CC-Link/LT is based on CC-Link technology. CC-Link Safety meets the requirement of recognising errors that could lead to a fault. This function simply brings machines immediately to a safe condition when a communication error is recognized. This is realized by the addition of a level with the safety function to the top level of the CC-Link protocol, which recognizes each error during the transmission. CC-Link Safety is an expansion of the normal CC-Link and it enables the connection of standard CC-Link devices together with CC-Link Safety devices to the same networks. A CC-Link safety master module must be used as the master module. CC-Link Industrial Ethernet (IE) uses Ethernet technology for seamless exchange of data on all levels of an installation, from the top level down to the manufacturing level. CC-Link IE exists in different versions as a field bus or as a control network, but frequently is based on CC-Link. CC-Link IE was developed for the frequent exchange of many quantities of data in an industrial or production installation. In contrast, CC-Link IE Field was improved for linking various devices and their connections to different, existing networks, e.g. Standard CC-Link.

Characteristics of CC-Link/IE

Exchanging of devices during operation using CC-/IE: Networks can be added quickly into the existing network, without having to stop or reset the original network. This reduces repair and maintenance down-times in the CC-/IE of production areas / sections to a minimum. Furthermore, high speeds are possible. The CC-/IE network enables the simple exchange of data and communication with inputs and outputs that is independent of transmission times. This is provided by the transmission of one gigabit per second and the real-time protocol. This is currently the fastest possible speed for the industrial sector. Transmission within media over the network in order to manage devices is also possible, as is the simple transmission of control data. In most cases, existing knowledge concerning the connection of an Ethernet network, equipment, and tools can be used for a CC-Link/IE network. The simple setting and diagnosis can be done without prior knowledge of the internal processes of the Ethernet. This minimizes the total costs from the initial set up, through to commissioning and repair. Furthermore, because of the different available structures, such as bus topology or mixed forms of these two network forms, it is always possible to provide a very good network for diverse configurations. The next characteristic to be mentioned is the fact that the diverse devices can be operated simply and without network knowledge as a result of the common storage technology. In the case of the CC-Link/IE network, the configuration software can access systems on the manufacturing level across the entire CC-Link hierarchy. Devices can be added to the network or maintained from any place. This characteristic maximizes efficiency during planning. A star-shaped network does not necessarily require complex switches with management characteristics, but cheaper switches without management functions also can be used. A bus or ring characteristic does not use hubs.