MRO Magazine

Futuretech: Conformance testing ensures network specs are met

Conformance testing is a procedure used to ensure that DeviceNet products, regardless of manufacturer, comply with the specifications of the network. One of the key benefits of an open network is the ...


September 1, 2001
By MRO Magazine

Conformance testing is a procedure used to ensure that DeviceNet products, regardless of manufacturer, comply with the specifications of the network. One of the key benefits of an open network is the interoperability and interchangeability of devices from different vendors. Conformance testing helps ensure this reality.

There are three independent test labs authorized by the ODVA to perform conformance testing. They are the Electronic Manufacturing Laboratory (EML) of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Warwick Manufacturing Center at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, and the ASTEM Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan.

While not mandatory, the ODVA recommends that companies have their DeviceNet products conformance tested at one of these facilities. Users can help encourage this practice by purchasing only DeviceNet products that have passed the comprehensive battery of tests required for certification. Without question, independently tested devices operate more reliably. This translates into decreased troubleshooting time, decreased downtime, and higher profits for the end user.

The conformance testing procedure involves three separate tests: the protocol test, the physical layer test, and the interoperability test. Additional tests confirm the interoperability of the device using different scanners and configuration hardware. By passing these tests, the manufacturer earns the right to place the DeviceNet Certification Mark on the device. ODVA publishes a list of companies and products that successfully pass testing in its DeviceNet product catalogue, as well as on its website (www.odva.org).

Manufacturers of DeviceNet products can purchase the same conformance test tools used by the independent test labs. By using these tools during product development, these manufacturers can significantly reduce their design and test phases.