TechnologyNovember 1, 2022
CC-Link continues focus on TSN networking solutions
CC-Link IE TSN is designed to address a number of engineering challenges as well as prepare companies for the new digital era of Connected Industries. Leveraging Time-Sensitive Networking and gigabit Industrial Ethernet, it enables factories to quickly adapt and evolve to incorporate promising new technologies.
Time-Sensitive networking (TSN) is an ongoing focus for CC Link automation and control networking solutions.
For this Special Technology Update on CC Link, the Industrial Ethernet Book reached out to John Browett, General Manager of CLPA – Europe, to provide readers an update on this key Industrial Ethernet technology.
What key technical trends are driving the adoption of CC-Link automation, control and networking solutions?
The digital transformation of business, in line with Industry 4.0 principles, is driving companies to embrace digital technologies and smart solutions. These generate, share and analyse data to obtain actionable insights that can help optimise operations. This framework requires network convergence in order to deliver the necessary level of data visibility and availability.
The demand for enabling technologies that can support convergent communications is the main driver behind the adoption of the CLPA’s latest solution, CC-Link IE TSN. This is the first open gigabit industrial Ethernet that also offers Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) functions.
Being the first organisation to launch a network technology with this functionality onto the market, our association has witnessed significant demand for CC-Link IE TSN and industrial automation products that are compatible with our solution. Moreover, thanks to a broad development ecosystem and an ever-growing range of certified devices, end users are already benefitting from highly convergent infrastructures.
What are the key technical advantages of automation systems that utilize CC-Link technology solutions?
Delivering convergence is the major outcome resulting from the adoption of a network technology with TSN functions, such as CC-Link IE TSN. This has a positive impact on a number of activities.
Automation systems that leverage CC-Link IE TSN can more easily merge operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) traffic. This helps enhance the transparency, management and control of key industrial processes as required by the demands of Industry 4.0.
Furthermore, it leads to improved productivity, efficiency and product quality, as automation components that are compatible with CC-Link IE TSN can help companies flag anomalies and improve troubleshooting, resulting in minimised downtime and lower maintenance costs.
In addition, it is possible to benefit from simplified network architectures, which can reduce capital expenses (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) while streamlining the completion of industrial automation projects.
What are specific application areas that CC-Link solutions are targeting? How are these solutions contributing to IoT and enterprise connectivity?
The CLPA’s network technologies, such as CC-Link IE TSN, are aimed at ensuring seamless interconnectivity in industrial communications across a wide variety of manufacturing industries. Ultimately, they can support any discrete industrial automation application.
In particular, systems driven by CC-Link IE TSN and its predecessors have led to productivity improvements in automotive, food & beverage and logistics applications as well as in the manufacture of consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries, semiconductors and consumer packaged goods. Thanks to our range of technologies, companies in these areas have been reaping key operational benefits.
When looking at the IIoT and enterprise connectivity, CC-Link IE TSN represents a core element. In effect, it simplifies these strategies by enabling convergence of different types of system traffic, making it easier to extract key process data. This can help to improve process transparency and hence optimise operations.
In addition, our technologies can also help companies drive communications across different plants, marking the first step in the creation of connected supply chains and beyond.
What technology benefits are driving CC-Link adoption for automation and control networking in smart factory applications?
CC-Link IE TSN is an enabling automation networking technology designed to facilitate the creation of smart factories. Recent real-world applications include a leading manufacturer of 3D printers, Shashin Kagaku, who was able to introduce machines that offer a significant increase in performance while being simpler to build. By utilising CC-Link IE TSN, the key laser system is tightly integrated with a high precision motion control system, while reducing overall costs and time-to-market. Ultimately, the resulting machine is ten times faster than previous models without TSN functions.
Orisol, a leading provider of automated systems for footwear production, is using CC-Link IE TSN to offer a unique assembly unit for heat activated adhesives that bond different shoe components. More precisely, this can deliver unprecedented speed and responsiveness as well as the connectivity required for Industry 4.0 applications.
CC-Link IE TSN has been used across the lithium-ion battery industry in China to advance key aspects of production. In particular, the technology enables better integration of the highly critical motion control processes with safety and general I/O control traffic while maintaining high performance operations.
What are the engineering challenges that the newest CC-Link systems and architectures are designed to address, and how is CC-Link evolving to provide more comprehensive solutions?
CC-Link IE TSN is designed to address a number of engineering challenges as well as prepare companies for the new digital era of Connected Industries. In addition to supporting this trend, it ensures that factory floors can quickly adapt and evolve to incorporate new promising technologies.
More precisely, our network solution can help businesses move away from separate ‘islands of automation’ that can bottleneck the digital transformation of shop floors, with equipment that cannot share data. This inability has been limiting the setup of responsive and agile facilities, impacting productivity, efficiency and product quality as well as troubleshooting and maintenance. In addition, CC-Link IE TSN helps to remove the barriers that have traditionally been separating IT and OT in a safe and secure way.
Besides, the use of CC-Link IE TSN eliminates the need for multiple networks, which have historically been necessary to address the specific needs of motion control, safety and IT applications. These were complex, expensive and difficult to maintain.
Looking at the future, the CLPA is at the forefront of innovation, with its solutions supporting the technologies that are believed to be key for next-generation communications, namely wireless LAN (WLAN) and 5G. The CLPA has recently released guidelines to explain how this can be achieved.
CC-Link IE TSN connects with attendees at TSN/A Conference 2022
The TSN/A Conference has become an industry event for industrial automation and network technology specialists. The latest edition, which hosted nearly 300 participants, closed successfully for the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), which reported considerable interest in its Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) solution, CC-Link IE TSN.
The TSN/A Conference has quickly risen to become a key technology event fostering discussions on future oriented communications based on TSN. This year marked the debut of the CLPA, whose key message was focused on how TSN is “here and now”.
This was backed up by presenting the latest real-world applications of the organisation’s CC-Link IE TSN technology at the event. CC-Link IE TSN is the first open gigabit industrial Ethernet with TSN functions, and the CLPA showcased its growing installed base across a variety of industry sectors. This was further reinforced with an overview of the benefits the technology delivered in each case.
Realising the benefits of TSN
During his presentation, John Browett, General Manager of CLPA – Europe, explained how the Instrumentation Technology & Economy Institute of the People’s Republic of China (ITEI) which promotes best practices in manufacturing, was able to create a full-scale demonstration manufacturing system based on CC-Link IE TSN to illustrate the benefits TSN can deliver. The facility features a converged network architecture, which handles transfer of data from machining, assembly and logistics areas as well as CNC condition monitoring and tool protection systems. This allowed ITEI to highlight the reduction of complexity while increasing transparency and productivity.
Similarly, CC-Link IE TSN allowed a leading manufacturer of additive manufacturing systems, Shashin Kagaku, to launch new, value-adding 3D printing machines. These offer a significant increase in performance while featuring a simpler, leaner and cost-effective design. In particular, the key laser system within the unit is tightly integrated with a high precision motion control system that makes the machine ten times faster than previous models without TSN functions.
In addition, John Browett explained how CC-Link IE TSN compatible devices have been utilised by Orisol, a leading provider of automated systems for footwear production. The company’s latest assembly unit for heat activated bonding of shoe components offers high speed and responsiveness. In addition, Orisol can deliver the level ofconnectivity required for Industry 4.0 applications.
Finally, the presentation covered how companies in the Chinese lithium-ion battery industry have been using CC-Link IE TSN to bring production to the next level. Highly critical motion control processes related to electrode coating and cell assembly are better integrated with safety and general I/O control traffic while maintaining high performance operations.
Enabling the digital transformation of business
Anyone keen to learn more about TSN and CLPA’s network technology support for key industries but couldn’t attend the 2022’s TSN/A Conference will greatly benefit from a recording made of the presentation.
This can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/U8k6VlvFSBE.
The organisation’s latest white paper. “Delivering TSN’s benefits to manufacturing” further backs up this material and is available to download for free from https://eu.cc-link.org/en/campaign/2022/tsnwp.