Using Anybus Communicator as external network interface for an Actuator

Actuators, that do not have an integrated network interface, can easily be connected to fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks via their RS-232 interface and the Anybus Communicator

Flexible communication is a key successes factor for almost any actuator. While complex actuators typically offer powerful integrated network interfaces, small and simple actuators only support serial communication via RS-232/485 interfaces. In these cases, the Anybus Communicator can be used as an external interface to integrate the actuator into almost any fieldbus or industrial Ethernet network.

The Anybus Communicator is connected to the RS-232/485 interface of the Actuator and translates the data received via the industrial network into a serial data stream to the actuator. The Communicator completely handles the protocol conversation and represents the actuator as a slave/adapter on the network.  For the central PLC (master) the actuator functions as a standard node on the network with slave functionality.

The PLC sends commands to the actuator as output data and the actuator transfers its confirmation messages and status information back to the PLC as input data via the network. Thanks to the intelligent conversion features of the Anybus Communicator, a telegram header and trailer (checksum) can be added to the net data by the Communicator before the resulting telegram frame will be send to the actuator. The Communicator can also filter out incomplete or faulty telegrams received from the actuator and strip off telegram header and trailer information from the actuator messages so that only the net data will be send via the network to the PLC. The Configuration is made with the ABC config tool, which is available from the downloads section of this website.

As the Anybus Communicator is available for almost any industrial network, the actuator can be connected to many different networks with the same connectivity solution without additional development efforts.

Depending on the complexity of the protocol conversation, the internal processing time inside the Anybus Communicator is in the range of 5 – 20 ms. Accordingly, the usage of the Anybus Communicator does not add substantial delays to the reaction time of a typical actuator. Read more