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How to Use PROFINET with a Cognex In-Sight Camera

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Looking to connect a Cognex In-Sight camera to a Siemens-based industrial automation system? This video will show you how. 

The featured application is specific to PROFINET, the global standard for networking over industrial Ethernet. The recording demonstrates how to communicate with a Siemens S7 PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) via that company’s TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal.


Getting started. Begin by configuring your network settings in the In-Sight Explorer spreadsheet by clicking on the Sensor pulldown menu and selecting Network Settings. The next step is to choose PROFINET from the list of Industrial Internet Protocols and create a Station Name for your In-Sight system. After restarting In-Sight to save the Network Settings, move to the next step.

Connect a trigger to the PLC. In the A0 cell on the spreadsheet, change the trigger type to Industrial Internet. This makes it possible to connect the trigger to the Siemens PLC. The video also shows how to send basic data to the PLC and deliver data to an output buffer.

Link to the TIA Portal, add GSD file. Next, go into Online mode to connect with the TIA Portal. This requires calling up the TIA Portal on the PC and installing the proper GSD (General Station Description) file. 

Navigate to the location of the GDS file to create a network path. These files are in the Installation folder for In-Sight on the PC. After selecting the GSD file, specify the type of Siemens PLC being worked on. This allows a new project to be started in the TIA Portal.

Connect the In-Sight camera to the project. Identify the Cognex camera or sensor being deployed. Confirm the version of Insight Explorer being used; this will determine how to select the In-Sight camera.

Drag the icon for the Cognex device into TIA Portal and use a simple point-and-click process to connect it to the Siemens S7 PLC. Both the IP address of the camera and a PROFINET device name are needed. Then press the Compile button in the menu bar to load the new configuration in the PLC. 

Add table for status and control tags. The next step is to configure the generator table for the PROFINET status and control tags. Visit Insight Support and type TIA in the Search and Filter field. Download the file called TIA Portal Integration Guide and Tag Generator V2.  

The file provides a tag generator table and an instruction file in a spreadsheet. Here, copy addresses from the tag generator and paste them into the new PLC tag table. Running the Compile operation make this data available to the PLC. 

Create a watch table. Next, learn how to create a watch table to monitor communications and add an inspection results tag. PROFINET IO Module Reference Tables are available for In-Sight 4.x.x. firmware and In-Sight 5.x.x. firmware. These pages include detailed diagrams for proper communication processes between the camera and the Siemens PLC.

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