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Newsletter Issue # 29

Real Time Automation's - Best Darn Newsletter 

Three Stories of Acting with Intent
Understanding the EtherNet/IP Address Space
Fun Facts and Trivia

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March 3, 2016
All Hail, ASCII, King of Data
February 24, 2016
Scanners, and Adapters, and EtherNet/IP. Oh My!
February 24, 2016
MTConnect Saves from the Fires of Adapter Hell
February 12, 2016
The Hateful Eight: Pros and Cons of Ethernet/IP
February 4, 2016
Wanted: New Ways to Model Information in Automation
January 29, 2016
The Elephant in the Building



Practical tips and information for young engineers. This issue, featuring:

- My Wife Says I'm Cheap - Winning the Value War



Three Stories of Acting with Intent

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

Stories are very powerful. Stories are how we think, plan, make sense of the world, persuade, make decisions, and much more. Three short stories to tell this month that made me think about life a little differently.

The email came in a few days ago. I’d expected and feared this…Joe had passed. Joe Fedorczak, my supervisor at Allen-Bradley in the old days (now the very old days), had been 64 years old. Much too soon to lose such a true gentleman. In a day when there are few men who consistently act like a gentleman, Joe truly was one. A gentlemen’s gentlemen. I can’t think of a single instance of Joe giving way to anger, an act of dishonesty, or disrespect. He never acted in any way that wouldn’t have been a credit to himself, his parents, or his wife and family.

At every funeral the deceased is credited with saintly characteristics—sometimes deservedly, though usually more favorably than is due. We’ve all attended funerals where the deceased was portrayed as being much more than he was in reality. But that wasn’t the case for Joe.

Another person with an intriguing story is Susan Boyle. I am addicted to and enthralled by her Britain’s Got Talent episode on YouTube. To call it dramatic or heartwarming would simply be inadequate. This older, portly, dowdy woman walks on stage, and very matter-of-factly, tells the judges she wants to be a professional singer. A woman who had spent her life caring for her mother and had never done more than sing in church? The judges sit there, silently skeptical, while some audience members unkindly vocalize their doubts. A girl in the audience is heard to say, “I feel sorry for her.” A minute or two later, they’re all on their feet wildly cheering for one of the most astounding performances and beautiful voices ever to appear on TV. The discrepancy between her physical characteristics and the beauty of her voice is especially compelling.

Finally, there’s Katherine (or Kat, as she is known). Kat is a physical therapist who works with disabled children to keep their muscular systems functional despite their illnesses, deformities and surgeries. It’s a very tough job. These kids are fed up with doctors, nurses, therapists, hospitals and the rest. The last thing they want is Kat pushing them to stretch their limbs. Then, Kat noticed that ballet dancers do the same types of stretches she was using to help the kids; and she brilliantly conceived of partnering with a ballet company to make it about dancing, not physical therapy. For these children, working side-by-side with professional ballerinas is no longer work – it’s preparing to dance. Her children are doing much better, and the dancers have found new meaning to their profession.

Three stories. All individuals who understood who they were, what they wanted, and acted with intent. I’ll ask you the question I ask myself: what is your intent? Are you acting today with intent, or are you just frantically busy, doing things that aren’t all that important?

The real question is this: what are you going to do about it? The same thing, or something different?



- John





· The Irish believe you will have a prosperous year if you keep what custom?

· Where was St. Patrick born?

· Estimates suggest that there are how many regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover?

· According to the Guinness Book of World Records, what is the highest number of leaves found on a clover?

· Where does the Blarney Stone come from?


Answers located on bottom of page.


Understanding the EtherNet/IP Address Space

The EtherNet/IP Address Space is the key to EtherNet/IP. Everything else is useless without an Address Space. The transport layer, connections, and services exist to provide a Scanner with access to the Address Space of an Adapter device. Understanding the Address Space model and how Objects are represented in the Address Space is an important key to understanding EtherNet/IP.

The Address Spaces used by most automation technologies are flat, meaning that there is no hierarchical structure to them. Modbus is the best example of a flat Address Space. Modbus has 64K of register space and 64K of coil (bit) space. There are no organizing elements that define any type of structure to all those registers and coils.

If you remember chemistry class, each element in the periodic table is a substance that cannot be decomposed into other elements. In the EtherNet/IP Address Space, that elemental structure is an object. All CIP devices (EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet) organize data as a series of objects. Each object is simply an assembly of the related data values in a device. It is the core element of not only the Address Space but also Explicit Message Services, I/O Messaging and all the other services that form an EtherNet/IP Address Space.

The object organization of an EtherNet/IP device reflects how the device designer wants to organize the data in the device. There is no right way or wrong way to organize data. For example, if you had an EtherNet/IP flow meter that measured two flows and two temperatures, you could organize your data in any of the following ways:

  • A single Flow Meter object with the object containing two flow values and two temperature values.
  • Two objects: a Temperature object containing the two temperatures and a Flow object containing the two flow rates.
  • Two objects: a Flow 1 Object containing the first flow and temperature and a Flow 2 object containing the second flow and a temperature.

Objects are categorized in three ways:

Required Objects
Required objects are the set of standard objects found in every EtherNet/IP Scanner and Adapter. These objects make it possible for network tools to access common data, like the vendor of the device, its product name, or its link speed, in a standard way no matter what the device is.

Required objects include objects like the Identity Object, the Message Router Object, the TCP/IP Interface Object and the Ethernet Link Object. These objects all have predefined object numbers which Scanners use to access the data in these objects.

Application Objects
Application objects are the objects that organize the data encapsulated by the device. These objects are specific to the device’s type and function. For example, a Motor object might organize the frequency, current rating and motor size. An Analog Input object might organize the type, resolution and current input value.

In most cases, the designer of the Address Space is free to assign object numbers for each of the objects in the Address Space. Object numbers of 64 and above can be used to define a device’s application objects.

For a large number of common devices, the application layer object numbers and data in the objects are predefined. All CIP devices of a specific device type are required to support an identical series of application objects. The collection of application objects that comprise a particular device type is known as the device profile. The CIP library defines a large number of profiles for many common devices.

Supporting a device profile allows end users to easily integrate common devices. Motor drives are the best example of this. All major motor drive vendors support the motor drive profile. A controller configured to connect to a motor drive with that profile can use any drive supporting the series of objects defined in the profile with minimal reconfiguration. There are device profiles (libraries of application objects) for drive systems, motion control, valve transducers, and more.

Data within Application Layer Objects is grouped into assembly objects. These objects are objects containing data from one or more Application Layer Objects. Assembly objects form a convenient package for transporting data between an Adapter and a Scanner. There is an input assembly which delivers input data to a Scanner, and an output assembly which delivers outputs to an Adapter.

Assemblies are defined by the Adapter vendor and can be composed as desired by the device vendor. For example, a vendor of a Temperature Controller with multiple temperature loops may define assemblies for each of the temperature loops and an assembly with data from all temperature loops. The user can then pick the assembly that is most suited for the application and how often they wish to access each assembly.

Assemblies are usually predefined by the vendor, but CIP also includes a mechanism by which the user can dynamically create an assembly from Application Layer Object attributes. Few, if any, devices include that mechanism.

Vendor Specific Objects
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 as either application or required objects. This data is strictly of the vendor’s 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 ways in which that data can be accessed such as cyclic, polled, and change-of-state.

The term describing the data items organized by Objects is “Attributes.” Attributes are the individual data items of an Object. An Attribute can have any one of the CIP predefined types which include all the standard types you would expect like Integer, Boolean, Float…etc.

Just as with Objects there are required attributes and application attributes. Required attributes are the attributes specified in the required objects. For example, Attribute 1 of Object 1 (Identity Object) is the integer vendor ID. Application attributes are the attributes which contain data values particular to the application.

To learn even more about EtherNet/IP, visit our EtherNet/IP technology page:








Fun Facts

·Spring fever is not just a saying. Experts say the body's makeup changes due to different diets, hormone production, and temperature.

·The reason Spring begins on a different day each year is because Earth doesn't circle the sun in exactly 365 days.

·On the first day of Spring, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight.

·The sense of smell can actually become more acute in Spring as there is usually more moisture in the air.



  Trivia Answers: Drowning the Shamrock; Britain; 10,000; 14; A castle

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