General Motors Standardizes on EtherNet/IP Network

Ann Arbor, Mich. - ODVA announced that General Motors Corp. (GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, has standardized on EtherNet/IP for its vehicle manufacturing operations. The EtherNet/IP network will provide real-time communication between GM machine controllers, robots and process control equipment, as well as provide information to higher-level business systems. Suppliers to more than 60 GM factories located in Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East have until Jan. 1, 2007 to make their products EtherNet/IP-compatible.

"To meet our needs, we wanted an Ethernet implementation that is open, readily available, capable of real-time data delivery, and uses standard infrastructure devices," said Gary Workman, staff development engineer at GM. "The EtherNet/IP networking solution clearly meets all of these criteria."

Introduced in early 2000, EtherNet/IP is based on commercial off-the-shelf Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) and the TCP/IP suite - not modified, proprietary implementations. EtherNet/IP also leverages standard User Datagram Protocol/Internet Protocol (UDP/IP, part of the TCP/IP suite) transport services, which provides higher performance and multicast functionality for real-time messaging. Because it leverages both TCP/IP and UDP/IP protocols, GM and other manufacturers can use EtherNet/IP for both information and control applications.

EtherNet/IP also provides the advantage of seamlessly integrating with DeviceNet, GM's preferred device-level network in North America. GM standardized on the networks to achieve a high level of consistency in designing and operating its assembly plants, regardless of the brand of products used.

EtherNet/IP uses the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) as its upper-layer protocol and object model. This proven, open protocol offers users numerous benefits including ease of configuration, rapid product and network integration, and multi-vendor interoperability. CIP also allows users like GM to seamlessly transport data from the factory floor to enterprise systems without specialized devices or software.

"The year-over-year node count growth for EtherNet/IP has averaged well over 30 percent," said Katherine Voss, executive director, ODVA. "This high rate of adoption is evidence that EtherNet/IP matches the needs of industrial automation users looking to build information-rich, cost-effective and integrated facilities."

EtherNet/IP extends commercial off-the-shelf Ethernet to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) - the same upper-layer protocol and object model found in DeviceNet. CIP allows EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet product developers, system integrators and users to apply the same objects and profiles for plug-and-play interoperability among devices from multiple vendors and in multiple sub-nets. Combined, DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP promote transparency from sensors to the enterprise software.

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