ABB to Deliver Advanced Control System for BASF's Ethernet-APL Project in Europe

Feb. 26, 2024
ABB won the contract after BASF completed a testbed project in March 2023 with several suppliers.

ABB said Feb. 22 it will provide its Ability System 800xA distributed control system (DCS) for BASF’s Ethernet-Project in Europe.

Ethernet-APL, or Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer, is a specialized Ethernet physical layer designed for process industries, offering high-speed data communication through a single cable with built-in safety features for hazardous areas.

ABB won the contract after BASF completed a testbed project in March 2023 with several suppliers.

BASF invited process control suppliers, including ABB, to conduct tests on nearly 240 devices, 10 field switches and multiple control systems.

“These tests were done to demonstrate the functioning and robustness of a Profinet network via Ethernet-APL on a realistic plant scale,” said Emanuel Trunzer, BASF automation engineer at the Center of Technical Expertise for Automation Technology.” 

Trunzer added that “it was impressive to see that a system with 240 devices operates with such robustness and reliability.”

BASF has advanced to the planning stages to implement this technology in new plants across Europe, said Gerd Niedermayer, senior engineering and instrumentation manager at BASF.

ABB has been an early adopter of Ethernet-APL, working closely with other early adopters in their areas of specialization to introduce this new technology.

As Chemical Processing sister publication Control Global described in a May 2023 article:

Ethernet-APL is considered advantageous because it can reach more field-level components, such sensors, instruments and transmitters and other field devices. The BASF testbed project connected Ethernet-APL via Profinet to redundant controllers over field switches with eight, 16 or 24 ports. The controllers included Honeywell’s Experion DCS and ABB’s 800 xA DCS, which were connected to 238 field devices in a Profinet ring/loop topology via 24-port field switches that can handle 24 devices each.

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