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Fieldbus systems

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The fieldbus is the network of industrial automation. Until 2000, this market was covered by products that were all ultimately serial interfaces (ProfiBus, Din-Messbus, Modbus serial), but were sufficiently robust with a hardware layer as a current loop (RS485). Afterwards these systems were replaced by new variants using Ethernet as hardware layer. At Siemens this is now called "ProfiNet", at Beckhoff "EtherCAT", the Modbus is now "ModBus TCP/IP", but there are still enough other variants on the market.

With a plug-in card, the PC can be connected to the industrial components as a slave (typically with a PLC as master) or as a master controlling industrial actuators (motion controllers, ...). Both can be done with the same card, the CIFX 50, which is available in different mechanical versions (PCI, PCIe, PXI, Low Profile PCIe, mini PCIe, PC104, ...). Unfortunately, it is not (yet) connected as an external device via USB 3.0 or Ethernet, so laptop users are left out. In our fanless IPC the cards work of course. For different fieldbus systems different variants have to be ordered, so the decision about the used bus should be made before ordering a card.

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These cards are delivered by the manufacturer with an interface DLL, which enables a complete configuration and operation in the system. However, almost no user needs this, as a rule it is sufficient to create the configuration with the configuration program provided for this purpose and to save it on the card. The own PC software then uses only four functions: Open and close interface, read and write data block. CVI or C programmers can use the DLL directly, LabVIEW users get a library from us, which packages the functions of the DLL API so that they can be used comfortably.

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Fieldbus systems