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Device Rings as a Networking Solution

We previously discussed various applications for fault-tolerant networks, such as:

  • Networking devices within a control panel
  • Networking between control panels
  • Networking in an MCC and between MCC Sections
  • Networking devices outside the cabinet
  • Networking zone to zone

Let’s take a closer look at device rings as one potential solution for at least some of these applications.

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Multilayered Security for your Fiber Ring Network

The Phoenix Digital communication module offers an easily deployed, redundant, secure fiber ring network to its customers, which configures with a single DIP switch and no software.  Within the topic of security, as with many communication products, the Phoenix Digital modules have a multilayered approach that is baked into the module.  This requires almost no action by the customer as it is integral to every product.

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Finding the Right Fault-Tolerant Networking for Your Application

Fault-tolerant, redundant, resilient industrial networking is critical in a wide range of applications.

Some of the more common uses for industrial networking include:

  • Networking devices within a control panel
  • Networking between control panels
  • Networking in an MCC and between MCC Sections
  • Networking devices outside the cabinet
  • Networking zone to zone

The methods for creating fault-tolerant networking are nearly as numerous as the applications. Here’s a rundown of some of the most prevalent industrial networking solutions.

Device Level Rings

Device level rings, or DLR, connect Ethernet from one device to the next in a ring. Non-DLR devices must use an E-TAP (a two-port switch) or another switch with DLR embedded to connect. In a ring, communications are maintained when any one line or device fails, with a 3ms convergence time.

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Fiber Optic Module Diagnostics that Deliver

Phoenix Digital’s fiber optic communication modules provide advanced, interactive, system-level diagnostics. (Fiber modules must be ordered with the “-D” option for interactive diagnostics.) These diagnostics may be accessed thru the PLC user program (1746 and 1756 plug-in modules) or via discrete contact outputs (standalone, DIN-rail/panelmount fiber optic module) to validate network integrity and assist in troubleshooting network problems, such as:

  • Detect and locate fault conditions throughout the network
  • Verify fault management and overall network integrity
  • Simulate network fault conditions
  • Trap-and-hold intermittent failure conditions
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We've Moved!

We’re pleased to announce our move to the Knoxville, TN, location of Softing Inc. Softing AG is the parent company of both Softing Inc. and Phoenix Digital.

The integration of our offices puts Softing’s technical expertise literally at our fingertips. We will have easy access to 60 engineers and other technical resources to expand our capabilities to produce the high-quality products that our customers have come to rely on.

Our new address is 7209 Chapman Highway, Knoxville, TN 37920. Our new phone number is 865-251-5252.

PDC Communication Modules vs. DLR

Several prospective clients have asked about DLR (device level rings) and how they compare to our communication modules

Some Background

The Phoenix Digital products are smart, purpose-built I/O switches, specifically designed to operate for the industrial automation I/O layer and can be used with any automation supplier.  DLR requires special gateways (called ETAPs) to support non-DLR devices.

DLR is resilient, not redundant. The Phoenix Digital communication system, on the other hand, is a resilient and fully redundant network, deploying two independent channels of communication running hot, synchronized and in opposing directions.

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PDC Communication Modules & MCCs for Unmatched Network Communication

MCC Architecture Diagram SM

Motor control centers (MCCs) provide a great deal of convenience for modern plants and factories. A wide range of motors, including variable speed drives, overload relays and starters, can all be managed from a central location.

MCCs are generally available in two types:

  • Standard, which is hard-wired
  • Intelligent, which is Ethernet-enabled

It’s generally accepted that intelligent MCCs require the highest level of managed switch technology to properly operate. This creates serious challenges for the average maintenance staff, which doesn’t have the IT background necessary to maintain the switches.

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Softing Acquires Phoenix Digital Assets

Knoxville, TN, August, 2019 - Softing AG has acquired the assets of Phoenix Digital Corporation (PDC), a provider of secure industrial fiber optic communication products. The business will be operated by Online Development Inc.

softing logo

"Phoenix Digital's secure fiber optic modules are a great addition to Softing Industrial's portfolio of IoT communications products, expanding the technologies offered and the industries served," said Dr. Wolfgang Trier, CEO of Softing AG. Softing is expecting the acquisition to contribute additional revenue of up to EUR 3 million annually once integrated in the Softing product portfolio.

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Communication Modules Simplify Tunnel Project

east end tunnel

In the early 2000s, officials decided to create the East End Tunnel in Louisville, KY, which would allow state highway 841 to run under a sensitive historic site in the city. The project was part of a larger $2.3 billion project to improve various crossings over the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana.

As officials planned the 1,700 feet of tunnel, some challenges quickly became apparent.

For one thing, the project required a new communication network to tie together the tunnel’s traffic control system as well as the system that controlled the air ventilation fans in the tunnel.

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The Phoenix Digital Philosophy

At Phoenix Digital, we think things like network communications do not always need to be complicated. Sometimes enough is all you need.

With that in mind, what the group here at Phoenix Digital spends a great deal of time working on and talking about is how to make communications easy, reliable, secure, easy, fast, fault tolerant, and easy. Basically, we want to give the customer as much capability as possible, but we want to deploy that technology quickly and easily. This is what we do.

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