The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has accepted ETHERNET Powerlink (EPL) as a publicly available specification (PAS). ETHERNET Powerlink specifications were submitted by the Industrial Automation Open Network Association (IAONA) to IEC SC65C as a real-time industrial Ethernet communication profile, and 96% of all IEC National Committees voted in favour of ETHERNET Powerlink. All but one of the 25 countries voting on the proposal immediately accepted the proposal. At the same time, the subcommittee approved the specification as a new work item.
This is an important step for ETHERNET Powerlink in becoming part of the IEC Standard – IEC 61784-2 "Digital data communications for measurement and control – Part 2: Additional profiles for ISO/IEC 8802-3 based communication networks in real-time applications" which is currently under development. The ETHERNET Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG) and its strategic partners will also work on reformatting the ETHERNET Powerlink (EPL) specification to be integrated into the next revision of IEC-61158, the important field bus standard.
Among ETHERNET Powerlink’s major advantages is the fact that the protocol can be implemented on any standard Ethernet hardware and chip. ETHERNET Powerlink is the only real-time industrial Ethernet solution with microsecond speed and precision which does not need support through proprietary hardware components or ASICs. More than 60,000 EPL-enabled devices are already in use, predominantly in complex applications within the automation industry.
Today, ETHERNET Powerlink is supported by more than 200 leading industrial companies worldwide. More than 30 companies offer ETHERNET Powerlink-enabled products or services.