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B&R & Alstom present POWERLINK at Eleventh India Forum

Open technology for real-time networking in high-availability power plants

(PresseBox) (Berlin, ) The Eleventh India Forum, hosted by the ARC advisory group in Hyderabad, attracted over 230 delegates, including thought leaders and decision makers from key industrial segments, end users and technology solution providers. The two global players B&R and Alstom were invited to present on the topic of real-time deterministic, redundant networking for power plants using POWERLINK. Alstom - power industry pioneer and global leader in integrated plants and smart grid technology - uses the open Ethernet POWERLINK protocol as a communication backbone to optimize plant efficiency.

Groundbreaking plant performance with POWERLINK

Over the years, the use of Ethernet in power plants has evolved from shared, bridged and switched networks to deterministic real-time Ethernet one thousand times faster than traditional fieldbus technology. This set the stage for Ethernet POWERLINK, whose flexibility and high-performance are able to optimize plant efficiency like never before.

"As an open communication protocol based on standard Ethernet, POWERLINK is well-prepared for future evolutions," says Rajeev Sharma, vice president and managing director of Alstom Power Automation & Controls. The first real-time deterministic protocol, POWERLINK is a global leader delivering guaranteed performance thanks to IEEE802.3 compliance, 100 µs cycle times and a system synchronization rate of 0.1 µs. "The cutting-edge solutions offered for all types of industrial automation lead to POWERLINK being selected unanimously as Alstom's real-time communication standard," adds Sharma.

Sharma also points to contributions that Alstom has made to the evolution of POWERLINK through heading the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group's "High Availability" working group. The open nature of POWERLINK allowed Alstom to share its many years of expertise as standardized, open add-ons to the POWERLINK specification, making them available to everyone and ensuring compatibility with existing devices.

"Open technologies are superseding proprietary ones in all fields, and the au-tomation industry is no exception," says Ninad Deshpande, open technology representative from B&R. "Users of POWERLINK benefit from no longer being bound to a specific vendor, license or copyrighted technology." In addition to technical details of the POWERLINK protocol and the benefits of open technol-ogy, the presenters also introduced the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG), an independent user organization focused on developing the benefits of Ethernet for high-performance real-time networks and leading mar-keting and promotional activities world-wide. Members of the group include commercial companies, research institutes and end users.

About EPSG

The Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG) is an independent organization founded in 2003 by leading companies from the fields of motion control and automation technology. Its aims are the standardization and further development of the POWERLINK protocol first introduced by B&R in 2001. This high-performance real-time communication system is an advanced protocol based on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard designed to ensure real-time data transfer in the microsecond range. The EPSG cooperates with leading standardization organizations such as CAN in Automation (CiA) and the IEC. Anton Meindl, business manager of Controls at B&R, is the organization's CEO.