Many manufacturing facilities are executing asset digitization projects incorporating Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity between devices. In many instances, plant-wide and machine-to-machine communication using an Ethernet-based protocol is the norm. In place of installing bulky bundles of wire and cable, a single digital communication cable can be used to exchange information.
Machines are utilizing Ethernet for internal communication between components as well. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), Industrial PCs, variable frequency drives, etc. are commonly communicating via the Ethernet protocol.
Problems arise when machines are added to a larger network or asked to communicate peer-to-peer. Issues include:
The EIGR / EIPR Skorpion family of IP routers offers a solution to all these needs. The EIPR links two 10/100Mbps Internet Protocol networks, passing appropriate traffic while blocking all other. The EIGR provides the same functions at Gigabit speed. Both units feature a 4-port Local Area Network (LAN) where the machine components interact and a single-port Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects to the factory network. A built-in firewall prevents unauthorized access to the LAN side devices from the WAN side but included router features such as Port Forwarding and Network Address Translation (NAT) allow for WAN to LAN access. The WAN port can be configured for a static IP address or assigned a dynamic address via the built-in DHCP client to quickly integrate to the plant network. The IP router also keeps multicast and broadcast traffic separated between the LAN and WAN, allowing the machine network to run smoothly without having to deal with unnecessary traffic filtering. Additionally, by using the EIGR-V / EIPR-V models, remote access to the machine from the Internet via Virtual Private Networking (VPN) technology is available.
The same configuration can be used across multiple machines. This accelerates testing while being built, as well as on-site installation where just the WAN IP address must be configured. Skorpion IP routers have been successfully used in varied industries such as Transportation, Robotics, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and more.