IEC International Standardization of the Ethernet-based Industrial Network, RAPIEnet
RAPIEnet (Real-time Automation Protocols for Industrial Ethernet) is an Ethernet-based industrial network protocol which was invented by a Korean company, LSIS (LS Industrial Systems), for factory or process automation. Thanks to its unique embedded-dual-Ethernet-switch-based architecture, it guarantees recovery time of less than 10 ms for any network errors occurred from either hardware or software.
It is important for industrial network protocols, such as RAPIEnet, to be approved as an international standard since being an international standard guarantees interoperability and proves its technical maturity. However, the standardization process requires not only clear statement of technical details but also close collaboration among delegates from countries with conflicting interests.
Unlike other typical standards, in case of industrial networks (which are also well known as Fieldbus), the IEC international standard consists of several sub-standards to embrace several industrial network protocols that had existed before the standard was published. After that, a protocol or technology which wants to be a part of the standard should initiate the standardization process by being approved as an IEC/PAS (Publicly Available Specification) in order to be considered as a potential candidate in next standard maintenance period. The complicated nature of standardization process sometimes forces inventors to give up the process which costs human resources, investment, and time. Moreover, due to the invisible wall among stakeholders, it gets worse if they want to be an addendum to the existing standard.
However, I standardized the RAPIEnet as a delegate of Korea in IEC and also worked as an organizing secretary at KATS for several domestic strategic meetings for determining the direction towards successful approval. The standardization was insightful and bold challenge that foresaw the potential impact that was hidden behind controversial pessimistic arguments. The IEC/PAS 62573 played a seminal role in subsequent standardization and, now (as of Dec 2013), RAPIEnet holds several IEC standards.