New ProductsSeptember 21, 2023

Using IP routers for machine control

The Skorpion series of IP routers simplify machine integration into an existing IP network.

The Skorpion series of IP routers simplify machine integration into an existing IP network.

Modern factories are comprised of complex equipment and subsystems that communicate via IP–the backbone of the Internet. The integration of new machines or subsystems can be compromised if they have a fixed range of IP addresses that conflict with other existing plant addresses or the overall addressing policy dictated by the IT department, which often puts restrictions on IP usage. Contemporary Controls’ Skorpion series of IP routers can resolve network conflicts between the IT department and operations technology (OT).

IP routers

Skorpion IP routers connect two IP networks together—passing appropriate traffic while blocking all other traffic using either a wired or wireless connection. Either Ethernet-to-Ethernet (LAN-LAN) or Ethernet-to-modem (LAN-WAN) routing is possible with external DSL or cable modems. A stateful firewall makes a WAN connection as secure as possible.

Each machine or subsystem (which consists of multiple IP devices) connects to the LAN side of the router while keeping their same IP settings for the devices and the application, thus lowering installation costs and eliminating troubleshooting.

The IP address for the WAN port on the IP router is the only setting that requires modification to join the factory network, allowing rapid integration and multiple machines to reuse the same configuration on the LAN side. The various machine subsystems are presented as one device to the plant network but can be easily accessed individually by using various features of the IP router, such as Port Forwarding, Port Range Forwarding, and Network Address Translation (NAT).

The Skorpion IP routers allow the machine builder to retain the same configuration used during factory acceptance testing when installing at the customer site. Models are available to support variety of networking and OT requirements. The EIPR series of IP routers have a 10/100Mbps Ethernet WAN port and a built-in 4-port LAN switch. The EIGR series add Gigabit ports for faster speeds and higher data throughput. The EICR series include a built-in cellular modem that links cellular to 10/100/1000 IP networks. Cellular models are also available for European customers.

The routers are also used to isolate traffic and to gain secure access to machines remotely. Some models support Virtual Private Network (VPN) functionality. This can be enabled to allow secure remote access to the machine at the site for remote diagnostics and troubleshooting. This allows remote access to the machine over the internet and through the plant network for servicing. Plant data can be pushed to the cloud for further analysis for process optimization and/or predictive maintenance.

Skorpion IP routers have been successfully used in robotics, automated guided vehicles (AGVs), packaging, scientific equipment, and more. Skorpion IP routers reduce installation time, eliminate IP conflicts, and easily comply with your customer’s IP requirements.

Contemporary Controls