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More and more, in numerous applications, industrial automation and more (cars, machinery, automation, smart homes, agricultural farms, etc.), need to be able to allow data transfer. For this reason, components such as gateways and converters were created for easy integration and remote control. It provides both hardware and software bridges for various subsystems that have implemented various communication media.

Communication media are standard communication protocols that allow data exchange between equipment and industrial systems, such as FieldBus, ProfiBus, ModBus, Canbus, Devicenet and Controlnet.

One of the oldest communication protocols, widely implemented and used, is the ModBus protocol. It was developed in 1979 by Modicon Incorporated for industrial automation. It later became an industry standard as a method for transferring discrete units (inputs, outputs, analog information, etc.) between industrial equipment and monitoring systems. At the moment, the ModBus protocol benefits from a wide implementation due to its simplicity in implementation, the fact that it is open-source (does not require license costs) and the fact that it has been adapted to technological evolution, moving from the classic serial transport environment to the Ethernet.

However, a lot of equipment has implemented the ModBus communication protocol on the serial line, for several reasons: it represents an older implementation, it is simpler and less expensive. The current problem arises when these equipment with the serial implementation of the protocol must be connected to Ethernet networks (Internet)

The Midas company addressed this need by developing a Gateway module that ensures protocol and hardware conversion from Ethernet to RS485 (serial physical interface). It started from the idea of ​​a simple to configure, simple to use and robust industrial product. The result was a small device called ETH2RS485MB, a gateway from ModBus TCP on the ethernet interface to ModBus RTU on the RS485 interface.

Each of the above requirements were addressed and resolved as follows:

  • Industrial robust. This was an implicit requirement of the environment for which the product is intended. The industrial environment is recognized not only because of the mechanical and climatic working conditions but also because of the unfavorable electrical conditions: supply voltage, interference, etc. The product has an extended power supply range (7..30Vdc), includes protection against accidental transient overvoltages. For increased reliability, the product has implemented optoisolation of ethernet communication compared to the serial communication and compared to the supply voltage.
  • Simple to set up. These are defining characteristics of the product, characteristics necessary for it to be well received in the market. The configuration interface in Romanian, the parameters already predefined and set, allow easy configuration even for a person without knowledge about the ModBus protocol. Practically, you can get to the situation when the device turns on and it works immediately without any other operations, without complicated manuals that require time and effort to study.
  • Simple to use An LED that signals the presence of the supply voltage, an LED that signals the presence of communication and that’s about it. Serigraphic marking next to the signaling elements and the connection terminals. These are the elements that simplify everything in the case of use, if after a period of time after installation we no longer have the manual at hand.

This product was developed based on the previous experience of Midas & Co. in the design and manufacture of electronic modules and automation elements, the result being the first Ethernet Gateway designed and manufactured in Romania.

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