what is an Hirschmann switch

What is a Hirschmann Switch?

Introduction to Hirschmann Switches

Hirschmann switches are a vital component in industrial networking, designed to meet the rigorous demands of industrial environments. They are known for their robustness, reliability, and advanced networking capabilities.

Basic Functionality

The primary role of a Hirschmann switch is to connect multiple devices within an industrial network, facilitating data communication and information exchange. These switches are engineered to handle high data throughput and provide secure, uninterrupted data transmission under challenging industrial conditions.

Key Functionalities include:

  • High-Speed Data Handling: Capable of managing data at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps.
  • Network Redundancy: Ensures continuous network operation with features like HIPER-Ring, Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), and Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP).
  • Advanced Security: Incorporates firewalls and VPNs to protect against unauthorized access.



Hirschmann switches are extensively used in various sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, and energy management. They play a crucial role in:

  • Automated Manufacturing: Streamlining processes by connecting machines and sensors.
  • Transportation Systems: Managing traffic control and signaling systems.
  • Power Generation and Distribution: Ensuring stable operation of energy grids.

Historical Background

The legacy of Hirschmann in industrial networking dates back several decades, with a consistent focus on innovation and technological advancement. Hirschmann pioneered some of the earliest industrial networking solutions, adapting to evolving industrial needs.

Role in Industrial Networks

In industrial networks, Hirschmann switches are more than just data conduits. They are integral to system efficiency, network management, and operational safety. Their ability to withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference makes them indispensable in industrial settings.

Technical Specifications and Features of Hirschmann Switches

Technical Specifications

Hirschmann switches stand out in the market due to their comprehensive range of technical specifications, catering to various industrial needs.

Key Specifications include:

  • Port Numbers: Varying from 5 to 48 ports, including both Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet options.
  • Data Speeds: Offering a range of speeds, from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, to suit different network requirements.
  • Supported Protocols: Including PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, and Modbus TCP for seamless integration in diverse industrial environments.

Distinctive Technical Features

  1. Reliability
    • MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures): Hirschmann switches boast an exceptionally high MTBF, often exceeding 100,000 hours, indicating their long-lasting reliability.
    • Redundancy Protocols: Equipped with advanced features like HIPER-Ring, RSTP, and MRP, ensuring minimal downtime.
  2. Security
    • Advanced Security Features: Include firewalls, encryption, and VPN support, safeguarding the network against cyber threats.
    • Access Control Lists (ACLs): Customizable to control network access and enhance security.
  3. Ease of Use
    • User-Friendly Interface: The switches come with an intuitive graphical interface, making configuration and monitoring straightforward.
    • Automated Features: Such as auto-negotiation and port mirroring, simplify network management.

Enhanced Network Performance and Stability

These switches are engineered to deliver optimal performance even in the most demanding industrial settings. They are adept at handling large volumes of data with minimal latency, ensuring efficient network communication.

Cost-effective Ethernet switch family optimizes performance
Cost-effective Ethernet switch family optimizes performance

Environment Adaptability

Designed to operate reliably in harsh industrial environments, these switches can withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference, making them versatile for various industrial applications.

Practical Applications of Hirschmann Switches

Hirschmann switches have been instrumental in various industries, showcasing their versatility and efficiency. Below are some key application examples illustrating their impact.

Manufacturing Industry

  1. Automated Production Lines
    • Usage: Integration of Hirschmann switches in automated production lines to facilitate real-time communication between machinery.
    • Benefits: Ensures seamless data flow and minimal downtime, crucial for maintaining high production efficiency.
    • Example: In a car manufacturing plant, these switches manage data exchange between robotic arms, conveyors, and control systems, maintaining synchronized operations.
  2. Process Control and Monitoring
    • Usage: Employed for monitoring sensors and control systems in manufacturing plants.
    • Impact: Enables precise control over manufacturing processes, enhancing product quality and consistency.
    • Data Point: In a chemical plant, Hirschmann switches help in maintaining critical parameters like temperature and pressure within specific ranges, such as 20-30°C for temperature control.

Transportation Systems

  1. Traffic Management
    • Usage: Used in traffic signal control systems to coordinate signals and manage traffic flow.
    • Advantage: Reduces congestion and improves road safety by ensuring timely data transmission.
    • Implementation: In urban areas, these switches can manage data from over 100 traffic lights, significantly improving traffic efficiency.
  2. Railway Communication Systems
    • Usage: Vital in managing communication networks for railway systems, including signal controls and station management.
    • Effectiveness: Enhances the safety and punctuality of rail services by ensuring reliable communication.
    • Statistic: In a metro system, Hirschmann switches can handle data from over 50 stations, ensuring uninterrupted service.

Energy Management

  1. Power Grid Control
    • Usage: Integral in managing control networks for power grids, including substations and distribution networks.
    • Result: Ensures stable and efficient power distribution, minimizing outages.
    • Scope: Capable of managing data from multiple substations across a city to maintain consistent power supply.
  2. Renewable Energy Integration
    • Usage: Facilitates the integration of renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, into the main power grid.
    • Advantage: Promotes sustainable energy use while maintaining grid stability.
    • Capability: Can manage data from renewable energy sources contributing up to 30% of the total energy in a grid.


Comparing Hirschmann Switches with Other Market Offerings

Hirschmann switches distinguish themselves in the industrial networking market through several unique features and competitive advantages. Let’s compare them with other brands and types of switches to highlight their distinctive aspects.

Advanced Security Features

  • Hirschmann Switches: Equipped with comprehensive security protocols, including firewalls, encryption, and VPN support. They offer enhanced security features like access control lists (ACLs) and advanced port security.
  • Other Brands: While many offer basic security features, few match the advanced security capabilities of Hirschmann switches.

Competitive Advantage: Hirschmann’s focus on security is critical in industries where data integrity and protection are paramount.

Industrial Environment Adaptability

  • Hirschmann Switches: Specifically designed for harsh industrial environments, they can withstand extreme temperatures, vibrations, and electromagnetic interference.
  • Other Brands: Many switches are designed for office environments and lack the robustness required for industrial settings.

Unique Selling Point: Hirschmann switches’ durability in extreme conditions is a key differentiator.

Network Redundancy and Reliability

  • Hirschmann Switches: Offer superior network redundancy protocols like HIPER-Ring, RSTP, and MRP. The Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) often exceeds 100,000 hours.
  • Other Brands: Generally provide standard redundancy features; however, the MTBF rates are often lower.

Competitive Edge: Hirschmann’s high reliability and minimal downtime are crucial in industries where network failure can result in significant losses.

Performance and Data Handling

  • Hirschmann Switches: Capable of handling high data throughput with speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. They are optimized for real-time data handling and minimal latency.
  • Other Brands: While many can manage high data throughput, the optimization for real-time industrial data is not always a focus.

Key Advantage: Hirschmann’s performance in data-intensive environments sets them apart.

User-Friendly Interface and Configuration

  • Hirschmann Switches: Feature an intuitive graphical interface and automated configuration options like auto-negotiation and port mirroring.
  • Other Brands: Vary in user-friendliness; some may require more technical expertise for configuration and management.

Distinctive Feature: The ease of use and configuration of Hirschmann switches make them accessible to a wider range of users.

Hirschmann Greyhound 1040
Hirschmann Greyhound 1040

Installation and Maintenance of Hirschmann Switches

Installation Process

Installing Hirschmann switches involves several key steps to ensure optimal operation and integration into industrial networks.

  1. Site Preparation
    • Environment Check: Ensure the installation environment is free from excessive dust, moisture, and extreme temperatures.
    • Mounting: Secure the switch in a rack or on a wall, adhering to the specified clearance guidelines for ventilation.
  2. Physical Connections
    • Cabling: Use the appropriate cables (e.g., Ethernet, fiber) to connect the switch to devices.
    • Power Supply: Connect to a reliable power source, considering redundant power supply options for critical applications.
  3. Configuration
    • Initial Setup: Access the switch through its IP address for initial configuration.
    • Network Settings: Configure network parameters like IP address, subnet mask, and gateway according to your network plan.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Regular maintenance and effective troubleshooting are essential for the smooth operation of Hirschmann switches.

  1. Routine Maintenance
    • Firmware Updates: Regularly update the firmware to ensure the latest features and security updates.
    • Physical Inspection: Periodically check for signs of wear, cable integrity, and dust accumulation.
    • Backup Configurations: Maintain backup configurations to quickly restore operations in case of a failure.
  2. Troubleshooting Tips
    • Connectivity Issues: Check LED indicators and cables for any physical connection problems.
    • Configuration Errors: Review configuration settings if there are network communication failures.
    • Performance Monitoring: Utilize built-in diagnostic tools for monitoring switch performance and identifying potential issues.
  3. Advanced Support
    • Technical Support: Contact Hirschmann’s technical support for complex issues or hardware malfunctions.
    • Documentation: Refer to Hirschmann’s comprehensive documentation for detailed guidance on specific models and features.

Special Considerations

  • Redundancy: Implement network redundancy to minimize downtime in case of a switch failure.
  • Environmental Factors: Regularly monitor environmental conditions like temperature and humidity to prevent damage to the switch.

By following these guidelines, technicians can ensure the efficient installation, smooth operation, and effective maintenance of Hirschmann switches, thereby maximizing network reliability and performance.

RS20-0800M2M2SDAEHH | Hirschmann Ethernet Switch
RS20-0800M2M2SDAEHH | Hirschmann Ethernet Switch

User Feedback and Case Studies on Hirschmann Switches

Understanding the real-world performance and reliability of Hirschmann switches is best achieved through examining user feedback and detailed case studies. Below are some insights drawn from various users and applications.

User Feedback

  1. Manufacturing Industry
    • Feedback: Users in the manufacturing sector have praised Hirschmann switches for their robustness and reliability in demanding environments.
    • Highlight: One user reported a significant decrease in network downtime, citing a 99.9% uptime since switching to Hirschmann.
  2. Energy Sector
    • Feedback: In energy management, technicians have commended the switches for their easy integration with existing systems and high data throughput capabilities.
    • Specifics: A power plant manager noted a 20% improvement in data processing speed, enhancing the overall efficiency of their operations.

Case Studies

  1. Automated Warehouse System
    • Scenario: A large distribution center implemented Hirschmann switches to manage its automated storage and retrieval system.
    • Outcome: The switch’s high-speed data handling and reliability led to a smoother operation, with a reported reduction in packet loss by over 40%.
  2. City Traffic Control Network
    • Scenario: A metropolitan city integrated Hirschmann switches into its traffic control network.
    • Results: The switches provided enhanced real-time data transmission, leading to more efficient traffic management. The city observed a 15% reduction in traffic congestion during peak hours.

In-Depth Analysis

  • Performance in Extreme Conditions:
    • Users in both examples highlighted the switch’s ability to perform under extreme temperatures and conditions, maintaining optimal function where other switches failed.
  • Network Security:
    • Feedback consistently pointed to the advanced security features of Hirschmann switches, with several users noting a marked improvement in network security.

Practical Implications

These real-world examples and user feedback clearly demonstrate the performance, reliability, and versatility of Hirschmann switches across different sectors. They reinforce the brand’s reputation as a provider of robust, efficient, and secure networking solutions in industrial settings.

What is the average lifespan of a Hirschmann switch?

Hirschmann switches are known for their longevity, with an average Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) often exceeding 100,000 hours, indicating a lifespan of over 11 years under continuous operation.

How do Hirschmann switches perform in terms of data handling speed?

Hirschmann switches are designed for high-speed data handling, capable of managing data at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, ensuring efficient network communication with minimal latency.

What are the typical security features of Hirschmann switches?

These switches come equipped with advanced security protocols including firewalls, encryption, and VPN support. They also feature access control lists (ACLs) and advanced port security to safeguard against unauthorized access.

What is the cost range for Hirschmann switches?

The cost of Hirschmann switches varies based on model and specifications. Prices can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on factors such as port numbers, data speeds, and additional features.

How do Hirschmann switches compare to others in terms of power efficiency?

Hirschmann switches are designed for power efficiency, especially in industrial environments. While specific power consumption can vary, a typical Hirschmann Gigabit Ethernet switch consumes between 15 to 30 watts of power, which is comparable or better than many industry counterparts.

Are Hirschmann switches suitable for harsh industrial environments?

Yes, Hirschmann switches are specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh industrial settings. They can withstand extreme temperatures (ranging from -40°C to +70°C), vibrations, and electromagnetic interference.

What types of redundancy protocols do Hirschmann switches support?

They support advanced redundancy protocols like HIPER-Ring, Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), and Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP), which are critical for minimizing downtime in industrial networks.

What are the main disadvantages or limitations of Hirschmann switches?

While Hirschmann switches are highly reliable and efficient, they can be more expensive (higher initial investment) compared to basic switches designed for less demanding environments. Additionally, their advanced features might require a certain level of technical expertise for optimal configuration and maintenance.

News Post

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