Pepperl+Fuchs Ethernet-APL—Industry 4.0-Applications for Process Automation

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  • States: GA, NC, SC, TN, VA
  • Summary: Pepperl+Fuchs offers industrial Ethernet components that can be integrated into your plant's network infrastructure for data transfer using IIoT devices for Industry 4.0.
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>For the first time, Ethernet-APL opens up Ethernet as a basic communication technology for the field of process plants and implements the use of Ethernet-based components even in hazardous areas up to Zone 0/ Class 1, Div.1. The output ports are selectable with ignition type intrinsic safety up to Ex ia IIC. This enables barrier-free accessibility across all hierarchy levels. Another new feature is that communication and power supply are made available via the same Ethernet 2-wire cable.

In addition, Ethernet-APL brings along all the advantages known from decades of experience in handling electrical signals in the field of process plants:

  • Simple installation or familiar 2-wire installation
  • Simple connection technology
  • Polarity independence
  • Flexible planning of the topology
  • Support of Trunk-and-Spur technology
  • FieldConnex components meet all the infrastructure requirements of the process industry and combine this with highly secure, IIoT-enabled monitoring of the installation.

Highlights—Why Ethernet-APL?

Fulfills all central requirements for process plants

Long cable runs up to 1000 m, communication and power via the same Ethernet two-wire cable

For the first time ever: modern Ethernet technology applicable in hazardous areas

Enables field instruments with Ethernet technology and brings the internet into every corner of your process plant

Designed for Intrinsic Safety

Output ports selectable up to Ex ia IIC, barrier-free accessibility

Efficient plant modernization

Reuse of existing installations and infrastructures

High transfer rates

Fast and efficient communication of large data volumes at a rate of 10 Mbit/s, full-duplex

High degree of interoperability

Testing and certification ensures interoperability of the devices and systems from different manufacturers

Ethernet-APL enables fast and efficient communication of large data volumes at a rate of 10 Mbit/s. The two-wire cable transmits up to 92 W of data and power of simultaneously. It also sets new standards in terms of range, because trunk lengths of up to 1,000 meters are just as feasible as 200 meters at the spur to the field device.

For the first time, Ethernet can be applied in hazardous areas up to Zone 0 / Class 1, Div. 1 with the high degree of interoperability that users expect. The spur lines from the field switch to the field device can be designed to be intrinsically safe. A chapter for two-wire Ethernet (2-wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet, or 2-WISE for short) is currently being added to the well-known IEC standard for intrinsic safety in explosion protection. Inspired by FISCO, the new standard ensures simple planning and validation without calculations.

Installation in the field is simple with screw-type or spring-clamp terminals. It is possible to transmit more than one process value and all device parameters, which allows easy plant asset managementpredictive maintenanceconfiguration, and parameterization. A common physical layer for all devices and data enables seamless, transparent communication across all hierarchical levels—from hazardous areas to the cloud. This makes data accessible anytime and anywhere. The interoperability of the installation is ensured by certification of protocol and physical layer. This means that devices work together easily, even where technology from different manufacturers is in operation.

Ethernet APL Definitions


Ethernet APL - Advanced Physical Layers


Topology for the Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer


How to Realize Intrinsic Safety with Ethernet-APL

See this video to learn how easy it is to realize intrinsic safety with Ethernet-APL. Ethernet-APL borrows the concept known from FISCO, but allows higher performance and greater distances between switch and field device. For the verification of intrinsic safety, an additional chapter was included in the well-known IEC standard (IEC 60079). This concept for intrinsic safety of Ethernet APL connections is called 2-WISE for Two-Wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet.Thus, 2-WISE is not completely new after all. The majority of users who today have to use the entity concept to prove intrinsic safety for device technology with analog signals will be relieved when using Ethernet APL.


Ethernet-APL: Parallel Operation of Field Devices with PROFIBUS PA or PROFINET


The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 represent the future of industrial communication. However, implementing them requires fast, reliable communication from the field level to mobile, cloud-based applications.

Nowadays, field devices and sensors in process plants supply large amounts of data that could be collected, processed, and analyzed in the spirit of IIoT, but much of it remains unused. Ethernet enables the rapid transmission of this data and seamless communication between field devices, the process control system, and the cloud. For this reason, Ethernet has become the communication standard in factory automation.

In partnership with leading companies and associations, Pepperl+Fuchs is now laying the foundation for future IoT applications in the process industry through the Ethernet advanced physical layer (Ethernet-APL). It fulfills all of the central requirements for process plants, such as two-wire cables with long cable runs and interoperability. For the first time ever, modern Ethernet technology will be applicable in hazardous areas up to Zone 0 / Class 1, Div. 1.

The Evolution to A Worldwide Standard. Flexible Application Options.

In 2018, major process industry suppliers signed an agreement, known as “The APL Project,” to develop Ethernet-APL technology. This effort has been backed by the leading industry standard development organizations (SDOs) FieldComm GroupODVAOPC Foundation, and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International. Serving as the technology lead, Pepperl+Fuchs provides 60 years of experience in process industries to this alliance of companies. The infographic below shows an overview of activities that had been required for defining Ethernet-APL, developing it, and bringing it to market.

Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer communication is based on established and internationally recognized IEEE and IEC standards. Any company can apply Ethernet-APL and use the exact same concepts or products anywhere. This allows any team to standardize their processes or documentation on a global scale, reducing the time and money spent on planning, engineering, training, installation, commissioning, operation, and plant upkeep. This is a decisive advantage for any supplier, operator, or service company doing business globally.

Global standardization allows anyone to participate in this market development, which is why we expect a high rate of acceptance. In addition, the testing and certification of products ensures interoperability at all times, allowing devices from any manufacturer to operate on the same network. Just as we rely on Ethernet communications at home, in the office, and on the factory floor, Ethernet-APL provides an Ethernet to the field of process plants.

This unique common project ended in 2022. But still, the umbrella organizations will continue their cooperation to set up definitions, informations and standards.. 

All industries running process systems can benefit from implementing Ethernet APL