embedded modules for CC-Link networks

Control and Communication Link protocol

CC-Link was initially developed in 1996 by Mitsubishi Electric in Japan and started its rapid rise in Asia from there. By now, CC-Link can be seen as a standard there. However, many users and manufacturers, covered by the CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association), can also be found in Europe and America.

CC-Link offers high-speed communication in the control and fieldbus layer between controls (SPS), sensors, or actuators. CC-Link supports Baud rates up to 10 Mbps. CC-Link observes the standards EN 954 and IEC 61508 in the area of safety and is compatible with ISO 15693 and 14443. The operating frequency of 13.56 MHz is approved and thus permits global use. For this, the KUNBUS GmbH offers products in various form factors and different interface variations.

Within these variants, the modules can be exchanged (for example CANopen, PROFIBUS). The communication card then serves as CC-Link option card.

CC-Link Basics

CC-Link is a group of open industrial networks developed for automation engineering. The universal functionality of the CC-Link family in regard to automation engineering refers mainly to the ability to communicate control data as well as information on all levels in manufacture. As duplex, as well as single lines, are used for data communication, CC-Link networks enable a rather high transfer rate with deterministic communication. This also guarantees a manufacturer-independent data exchange within many automation products.

Manufacturing islands, processes, and individual machines can be controlled successfully with CC-Link, excluding very few industrial sectors. In addition to industrial automation, CC-Link is also used in building automation and in control of factory and manufacturing installation.

CC-Link Definition

CC-Link means Control and Communications Link. Developed in 1996, the demand for an open network increased in the following years, which inevitably led to further dissemination of the fieldbus network. The open network CC-Link enabled company- and manufacturer-independent data transfer, where in-house interfaces can still be used

The four different CC-Link networks

Four versions of the CC-Link network, supplementing each other, were developed to meet the rising demand for CC-Link and the individual demand in the industry. These cover different aspects in automation communication and offer high flexibility of use:

Standard CC-Link

The standard CC-Link network is available in two versions, which differ only in the quantity of data that can be transferred. This industrial network enables communication of information as well as control data with high transfer speed, which today represents the basis for a deterministic data exchange for CC-Link. In this way, very different automation devices can be connected with each other, where high speed and a deterministic data exchange are for a feature of CC-Link. A further characteristic is the fact that both of the above mentioned versions (version 1.1/version 2.0) can be used in parallel in the same network


Sensors and actuators can be implemented conveniently with the bit-based network CC-Link/LT. Furthermore, time and effort is saved with connection of field devices with a control cabinet. As potential wiring errors are prevented with the aid of profile lines, the installation time is also reduced to a minimum. Based on CC-Link, the use of three-wire standard lines is possible with CC-Link/LT.

CC-Link Safety

CC-Link Safety identifies especially those data transfer errors, which could affect the emergency OFF function and thus cause a production loss. In this way, machines are quickly brought to uncritical status with the aid of the CC-Link safety function. A CC-Link Safety layer, which overlays the top CC-Link protocol layer and this localizes communication errors quickly, is responsible for this practical function. While a CC-Link Safety master module takes the dominant role, CC-Link Safety is considered a protocol extension, which guarantees parallel use of CC-Link Safety devices and standard CC-Link devices.

CC-Link IE

CC-Link IE is the most widely distributed and most frequently used CC-Link network. CC-Link IE stands for Control and Communications Link Industrial Ethernet and takes care of the requirement to guarantee universal and smooth data communication on all levels in industrial automation technology - from the routing level to the manufacturing level. CC-Link, available as fieldbus as well as a control network, is the basis for CC-Link IE. Combination of the CC-Link IE controller network with the CC-Link IE field network thus enables the communication of late data quantities and the connection to networks with other devices.

Characteristics of CC-Link IE Field:

  • Device exchange is possible during operation. While a shut-down is averted, individual network stations can be implemented without problems in the running network.
  • Decentralized inputs and outputs enable a high speed for the data exchange (1 Gbps). This is supported by the deterministic real-time protocol. Operation and monitoring of the devices can be performed as well as transfer of data in the control range.
  • Existing equipment, tools, and knowledge make wiring of the CC-Link IR field network. The costs for planning, start-up and maintenance go down, as no knowledge of network diagnosis or configuration is required. Individual system configurations in the form of bus or star topology or their combination are possible. Device control also does not require network knowledge, a common memory is sufficient.
  • With the aid of the seamless network environment and the CC-Link IE network, configuration software can access the individual devices on the manufacturing level. Monitoring and adjustment of the devices is thus possible from any location, which clearly increases the planning efficiency.

In contrast to a star-shaped network (expensive switches), low-priced switches without a management function can be used with a CC-Link IE field network. Furthermore, hubs are not required if bus topology or ring topology is used. This results in attractive savings