ODVA publishes CIP Safety specification

The ODVA organization has published its CIP Safety Specification, which includes functional safety extensions to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) for safety applications. CIP Safety reportedly is unique among safety network offerings because the safety functionality is in the end node. As result, CIP Safety will allow users to deploy standard and safety devices on one CIP Network along with a choice of safety network architectures.

Because safety is a key issue in manufacturing automation, ODVA says manufacturers are under growing social and legislative pressure to do everything possible to protect workers from physical injury, while still under economic pressure to improve manufacturing productivity and return on investment.

"The user benefits of deploying CIP Safety will be significant,” says Katherine Voss, ODVA’s executive director. “CIP Safety expands the application coverage of CIP Networks to include functional safety, and will allow users to implement safety systems in a unified CIP Network architecture that can increase productivity and improve plant safety at the same time.”

Publication of the CIP Safety Specification marks a major milestone for ODVA, and culminates an initiative it and its members started in 2002 to integrate functional safety services into its CIP Network architecture. Since then, both CIP Safety and DeviceNet Safety received approval by TÜV Rheinland in accordance with the international standard IEC 61508, "Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-Related Systems," for applications up to Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3).

In 2004, ODVA formed the CIP Safety Joint Special Interest Group, which led ODVA's technical efforts to convert the CIP Safety network architected by ODVA member companies Omron, Rockwell Automation, and SICK into the new CIP Safety Specification. ODVA's next step in its safety initiative will be the extension of CIP Safety to EtherNet/IP.

ODVA members have indicated that CIP Safety devices will be available for DeviceNet networks by mid-2006. Bearing the name "DeviceNet Safety," these devices will provide fail-safe communication between nodes, such as safety input/output blocks, safety interlock switches, safety light curtains and safety PLCs. Because all CIP Networks are interoperable with one another and have seamless bridging and routing, users will be able to deploy the standard CIP Networks—EtherNet/IP, ControlNet, and DeviceNet—in conjunction with CIP Safety networks, and also use standard CIP Networks as a backbone between multiple CIP Safety sub-nets.

Built on a media-independent platform, CIP provides seamless communication from the plant floor through the enterprise and enables users to integrate safety, control, synchronization, motion, information and configuration across multiple networks.

The specifications for CIP Networks are published as The CIP Networks Library. The CIP Safety Specification is Volume 5 in this series.

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