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Newsletter Issue # 1

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 

Our First Issue!
Brain Drain
Life after Baby Boomers
White Paper
Accessing the Data Table of Logix Controllers
Fun for All
Fun Facts and Trivia

Get a free RTA bag this month only!

Email your name and address to: jladd@rta- automation.com by August 15th to claim your steal of the month.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
OPC Data Modeling
Converting Modbus to EtherNet/IP
OPC Task Force


The Fastest Easiest Way to Move Modbus RTU Slave Data to BACnet/IP

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Worth the Wait... and then some

Finally, after nearly a year in the making Real Time Automation is releasing its first newsletter edition. Ok let's be honest, this newsletter has been about a month in the making and the rest in procrastination. To those who subscribed as early as last August we hope it will be worth the wait. The whole crew here at RTA has worked hard to create both a highly educational as well as entertaining newsletter for you. In the future you can expect to receive this newsletter on a regular bimonthly release. 

We are located in Wisconsin, and after a long, cold, very snowy winter we thought would never end, we hit July like a brick wall. Overnight we were in full on summer, and we couldn't be happier. There is nothing quite like going from 40s to 90s in the turn of a day or two. 

We have seen this same sudden and drastic turn in Detroit.  After a year and half wondering if Michigan had fallen off the face of the earth, we have been reminded that it still exists.  We secretly fantasized about finally reclaiming the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that has perplexingly never been part of Wisconsin, but I digress.  We have seen a huge surge in orders and inquiries from Michigan.  Someone from our office has been in the Detroit area 18-30 days this month.  While the city still shows a lot of scars seeing manufacturing pick up has got to be a great sign for the ailing city and state.  We wish all our bests, until the Packers play the Lions. Heck, we wish the ole Lions the best as well, they will need more than our best wishes. 

Anyhow thanks for subscribing I hope you find the content below easy to absorb, educational and entertaining.


RTA News Team

Trivia Challenge

· Which US state is the only state with a single syllable name?

· How much did American Airlines save in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each
  salad served first class?

·  Who are the four great kings from history represented in a deck of playing cards?

· One in every 2000 babies is born with what rarity?

· How much does the average bank teller lose per year?


Answers located on bottom of page..

A Big Brain Drain...

A Column of personal opinion by John Rinaldi, Founder and Owner of Real Time Automation.

I’ve never really liked being a “Baby Boomer” but I have to admit that I belong there.

We’re the generation born to the all the guys that came back from the war apparently with, um, “vigor” and plans to make up for the time spent overseas.

There’s something like 76 million of us! In my birth year, 1956, there were 4.3 million babies compared to about 2 million born in an average year during the war.

At least I’m in good company. Me, Bill Gates, Prince Charles and Barack Obama are all Boomers. I don’t take a lot of pride in that. With 76 million of us there’s bound to be presidents, kings, billionaires and a hairless business owner.

We’ve set trends and controlled the culture like no other group in history. When we were in school we needed massive new facilities. As teenagers we set the trends in clothes, hair styles and music. As young adults we caused a massive boom in housing, automobile sales and influenced everything from health care to sports marketing.

Now a lot of us are getting ready to leave our work lives behind and move into the next phase of our lives, whatever that might be. With a group this big we’re sure to make a lot of product managers and corporate executives salivate.

We’re pretty spoiled and we’re going to want to drive until we’re blind, travel until we can’t walk and uh, you know, do “IT”, until our equipment falls off. It’s no coincidence that Viagra came into existence just as this group started to get a bit older and, uh, less capable.

We’re going to leave a big hole. No, not big, MASSIVE HOLES. When we leave the workforce, there is going to be a huge drain on experience and that sort of institutional knowledge that is so valuable.

Everywhere I’ve ever worked there have been those people that have been around for the 30 or 40 years and had the institutional knowledge of why certain things were done the way they were. What was tried in the past and why it worked or didn’t work. Now that’s going to be gone and the companies that we leave behind are going to struggle in some areas.

In automation, our generation has overseen the transition from mechanical systems to electrical systems to fully automatic computerized systems. I remember the crudity of the first conveyer line I ever saw. Just a big motor, a long line shaft and one gear box after another. Just an on/off switch. I don’t think there even was a drive on the motor. Now that I think of it, hey, it was wireless! Other than the power to the motor, there wasn’t a wire anywhere!

We’re losing a lot of really smart, hard working, capable engineers in important positions from companies all over the country. It’s going to be a challenge for the next generation to step in and fill our shoes.

I hope they’re up to it.

Your Guide to Understanding EtherNet/IP

I’m often asked what is EtherNet/IP or can you give me an EtherNet/IP Quick Introduction? So here’s the top 6.5 things you need to know about EtherNet/IP. (Note: David Letterman has his Top Ten. I’m only 65% as good as David Letterman)

1) EtherNet/IP is an application layer protocol that is transferred inside a TCP/IP Packet. That means that EtherNet/IP is simply the way data is organized in a TCP or UDP packet.
2) All devices on an EtherNet/IP network present their data to the network as a series of data values called attributes grouped with other similar data values into sets of attributes called Objects.
3) There are EtherNet/IP Required Objects – Identity, TCP, and Router that every device must have. The EtherNet/IP Specification defines those objects.
4) There are EtherNet/IP Application Objects that have the data for your specific device. For example, an EtherNet/IP Drive device has a Motor Object. EtherNet/IP devices that support specific devices all have the same set of EtherNet/IP application objects.
5) There are two kinds of messages that are transferred between an EtherNet/IP Scanner Device (opens connections and initiates data transfers) and EtherNet/IP Adapter devices (provides data to Scanners). These messages are Explicit Messages (asynchronous, as needed) and I/O Messages (Data messages that are continuously transferred).
6) EtherNet/IP is part of CIP, the Common Industrial Protocol. CIP defines the Object structure and specifies the message transfer. CIP protocol over CAN is DeviceNet. CIP protocol over Ethernet is EtherNet/IP.
6.5) Our company, RTA, is the leading supplier of EtherNet/IP technology. RTA can supply Royalty Free EtherNet/IP Source Code Software stacks, EtherNet/IP PCBs, and Modules.

Ethernet/IP uses the tools and technologies of traditional Ethernet. Ethernet/IP uses all the transport and control protocols used in traditional Ethernet including the Transport Control Protocol (TCP), the Internet Protocol (IP) and the media access and signaling technologies found in off-the-shelf Ethernet interface cards. Building on these standard PC technologies means that EIP works transparently with all the standard off-the-shelf Ethernet devices found in today's marketplace.

Ethernet/IP is a certifiable standard. The groups supporting EIP plan to ensure a comprehensive, consistent standard by careful, multi-vendor attention to the specification and through certified test labs as has been done with DeviceNet and ControlNet.

The Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) is a communications protocol for transferring automation data between two devices. In the CIP Protocol, every network device represents itself as a series of objects. Each object is simply a grouping of the related data values in a device. For example, every CIP device is required to make an Identity object available to the network. The identity object contains related identity data values called attributes. Attributes for the identity object include the vendor ID, date of manufacture, device serial number and other identity data. CIP does not specify at all how this object data is implemented, only what data values or attributes must be supported and that these attributes must be available to other CIP devices.
The Identity object is an example of a required object. There are three types of objects defined by the CIP protocol:

Required objects are required by the specification to be included in every CIP device. These objects include the Identity object, a Message Router object and a Network object.

A. The identity object contains related identity data values called attributes. Attributes for the identity object include the vendor ID, date of manufacturer, device serial number and other identity data.

B. The Message Router object is an object which routes explicit request messages from object to object in a device.

C. A Network object contains the physical connection data for the object. For a CIP device on DeviceNet the network object contains the MacID and other data describing the interface to the CAN network. For EIP devices, the network object contains the IP address and other data describing the interface to the Ethernet port on the device.

Application objects are the objects that define the data encapsulated by the device. These objects are specific to the device type and function. For example, a Motor object on a Drive System has attributes describing the frequency, current rating and motor size. An Analog Input object on an I/O device has attributes that define the type, resolution and current value for the analog input.

Objects not found in the profile for a device class are termed Vendor Specific. These objects are included by the vendor as additional features of the device. The CIP protocol provides access to these vendor extension objects in exactly the same method as either application or required objects. This data is strictly of the vendors choosing and is organized in whatever method makes sense to the device vendor. In addition to specifying how device data is represented to the network, the CIP protocol specifies a number of different ways in which that data can be accessed such as cyclic, polled and change-of-state.

The advantages of the CIP protocol layer over EIP are numerous. The consistent device access means that a single configuration tool can configure CIP devices on different networks from a single access point without using vendor specific software. The classification of all devices as objects decreases the training and startup required when new devices are brought online. EIP provides improved response time and greater data throughput than DeviceNet and ControlNet. EIP links devices from the sensor bus level to the control level to the enterprise level with a consistent application layer interface.
There are numerous application layer competitors to EIP including Modbus/TCP from Groupe Schneider, ProfiNet from Siemens, HSE Fieldbus from the Fieldbus foundation and other vendors. Unfortunately space prevents a detailed review of each of these products. However, none of these competitors can provide the vendor support, flexibility and total architecture support offered by the implementation of CIP over Ethernet.

Fun Facts


·Proportionate to their weight, men are stronger than horses.

·There are more living organisms on the skin of a single human being than there are human beings on the surface of the earth.

·Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England, but only in tropical fish stores.

·Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down - hence the expression "to get fired."


  Trivia Answers: Maine; $40,000; Spades-King David, Clubs-Alexander the Great, Hearts-Charlemagne, Diamonds-Julius Caesar; a tooth; $250
  RTA Website