POWERLINK provides the following key features:
Ease-of-Use to be handled by typical automation engineers without in-depth Ethernet network knowledge. Up to 240 networked real-time devices in one network segment Deterministic communication guaranteed Down to 100 μs cycle times Ultra-low jitter (down to <1μs) for precise synchronisation of networked devices Standard compliant IEEE 802.3 Fast Ethernet IP based protocols supported (TCP, UDP, etc.) Integration with CANopen profiles EN 50325-4 for device interoperability Implementation based on standard Ethernet chips - no special ASICs necessary Direct peer-to-peer communication of all POWERLINK Devices (publish/subscribe) Hot plugging Seamless IT-integration – routing of IP protocols POWERLINK supports Client/Server and Producer/Consumer communication relationships.
The POWERLINK communication profile is based on CANopen communication profiles DS301 and DS302. Based on these communication profiles, the multitude of CANopen device profiles can be used in a POWERLINK environment without changes.
A main focus of POWERLINK is ease of use. Ethernet technology can be quite complex and confusing for machine and plant manufacturers, which are not necessarily networking experts. The following features have thus been implemented:
Easy wiring, flexible topologies (line structures, tree structures or star structures). The network is adapting to the needs of the machine. Utilisation of well-known industrial infrastructure components Simple address assignment by switch is possible Easy replacement of devices in case of failure Straight-forward network diagnostics Simple engineering separated from end user IT infrastructure Easy integration of RTE network with IT infrastructure