New Edition of IEC 61918 Regulates SPE Cabling and Installation for the Automation World

PBUS HARTING SPE Cabling

April 21, 2022

In March 2022, the new edition of the installation standard IEC 61918:2018/AMD1:2022 Amendment 1 – “Industrial communication networks – Installation of communication networks in industrial premises” has been published. The standard describes the installation of communication networks in industrial premises. In the new version, it now also includes important key points on cabling structures based on Single Pair Ethernet. This makes it an important basis for all users who want to bring their production into the IIoT.

The new edition of IEC 61918:2018/AMD1:2022 Amendment1 is the installation standard for communication networks in industrial plants, machines and automation islands. Both cabling infrastructure and the components to be used, such as cables and connection technology, are clearly defined for all automation profiles. Cabling solutions using fiber optic cables, symmetrical copper cables and for wireless media are considered.

The new amendment to IEC 61918 addresses the new 1-pair cabling structures for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) and the associated remote power supply PoDL (Power over Data Line). This closes the gap between classic IT infrastructure and industry, IoT/IIoT. SPE has a special significance for industry and automation. For the first time, it enables the universal application of TCP/IP-based automation protocols even for long distances, as in process automation or for the simple connection of sensors and actuators up to the industrial field level. Higher data rates, more power transmission and greater ranges than with classic fieldbuses pave the way for the IIoT and Industry 4.0.

This provides the users clear specifications for infrastructure components that are identical and compatible with ISO/IEC 11801-3 (industrial buildings). Annex 1 (AMD1) references the cable standards for 1-pair data cables according to IEC 61156-11/12/13/14 and the standard for the 1-pair data connectors according to IEC 63171-6. This gives system designers and users a stable basis for selecting suitable cables and interfaces, and the implementation of SPE technology in the automation world can begin.

The new version of IEC 61918 now provides a clear and unambiguous normative description of how and with which components a sensor-to-cloud data infrastructure in industrial applications must look. The tools for the implementation of IIoT are now available – device suppliers can now start the development and production of SPE devices with internationally ensured compatibility and investment security.

No matter whether PROFINET, EtherCAT or other Industrial Ethernet protocols – this new IEC 61918 is a common denominator for all automation profiles.

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