[COLOR=#708090]Cisco and Rockwell Automation Collaborating to Integrate Manufacturing and IT for Seamless Connectivity Throughout the Enterprise
Cooperation on reference architectures and market education results in best practices for global manufacturers leveraging EtherNet/IP standard networking technologies.
HANNOVER, GERMANY, April 16, 2007 - Rockwell Automation, a global provider of power, control and information solutions, and Cisco, a global provider of networking solutions for the Internet, announced today at the Hannover Messe they are working together to help manufacturers achieve the visibility, flexibility and collaboration necessary in today’s global manufacturing environment, through optimized network integration across the factory floor and throughout the enterprise, using standard Ethernet technology.
Based on feedback from customers, Rockwell Automation and Cisco are collaborating on their common technology view, building reference architectures using standard networking technologies such as EtherNet/IP, and providing market education to enable people and process optimization.
Building Reference Architectures for Manufacturing Networks
Rockwell Automation and Cisco are working together on reference architectures and detailed design guidelines for the use of common networking technologies across the production and enterprise network, addressing two long-standing industry challenges - greater efficiency and visibility. The validated, lab- tested architectures, part of Cisco’s "Ethernet to the Factory" solution, will enable the successful deployment of Ethernet-based production networks and secure integration with the rest of the enterprise.
"Manufacturers operate in an environment that requires a pervasive exchange of information across all domains of the manufacturing enterprise," said Craig Resnick, research director, ARC Advisory Group. "As manufacturers move into a global business climate that demands the integration of manufacturing operations and business systems, collaboration must move beyond hype to become a commonplace reality. Rockwell Automation and Cisco will provide manufacturers with the guidance needed to facilitate plant floor and IT network integration in a manner that achieves secure connectivity through the use of EtherNet/IP technology."
Addressing Customer Demands for Common Network Technology
The collaboration between Rockwell Automation and Cisco was formed to help leverage common open technology with security and reliability, while meeting the varied requirements across functions for an optimized networking solution - a desire strongly expressed by the companies’ joint customers.
"Customers are telling us they want linked reference architectures supporting both the office network environment and the factory floor," said Paul McNab, vice president of Enterprise Marketing for Cisco. "Both plant and IT managers need secure, real-time visibility between the production floor and enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain management systems. This network architecture will allow manufacturers to achieve real-time visibility with a secure control network using Ethernet."
Rockwell Automation and Cisco will continue to work closely with their customers to address current and future challenges facing various manufacturing industries.
"Use of standard, unmodified Ethernet is a key differentiator within the Rockwell Automation Integrated ArchitectureT. Rockwell Automation and Cisco, through combined industry knowledge and expertise, have come together to determine how enterprise-wide Ethernet network topologies can help manufacturers meet current market challenges, as well as anticipate and be ready for demands of the future," said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president of Architecture and Software, Rockwell Automation.
Bridging the Cultural Divide to Optimize People and Processes
Integration of network standards requires both contemporary technology and a mutual understanding of the issues and challenges facing IT and manufacturing environments. According to customer feedback, establishing dialogue between the two departments is key to better understanding of potential risks for each and, ultimately, to successful network integration.
Based on their respective knowledge of manufacturing and IT cultures, Rockwell Automation and Cisco will hold a series of educational seminars to help organizations implement change by establishing best practices between IT and manufacturing.
Leveraging Industry Standards
Rockwell Automation and Cisco are leading members of ODVA - an international association comprising members from the world’s leading automation companies who support network technologies using the Common Industrial Protocol （CIP）, including EtherNet/IP. Through their collaboration and membership in ODVA, the companies will drive continued innovation into validated open network standards.
EtherNet/IP uses standard, unmodified Ethernet and CIP. By bringing together CIP capabilities, EtherNet/IP enables companies to integrate automation equipment, simplifying the overall system architecture and enabling direct communication between enterprise and factory floor devices.
This convergence of network technology and cultures allows data to be used in real time, thereby increasing data availability for use by other applications, with participants sharing control and information on a single network. This open network architecture leads to reduced costs, improved productivity and time efficiencies.[/COLOR]