TechnologyMarch 14, 2023
Converged, high bandwidth manufacturing networks
The addition of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) to Industrial Ethernet offers the potential of unprecedented levels of deterministic performance for automation and control applications, along with powerful standards for implementing IT-OT convergence and Industry 4.0 digital transformation.
Industry 4.0 digital technologies have the potential to transform modern manufacturing and enable the convergence of enterprise IT and OT operations. There is already an “explosion” of data on manufacturing networks, but managing this data requires a converged, high bandwidth network infrastructure and value-added digital transformation strategies.
Convergence allows devices and systems to share the same network architecture to communicate, avoiding the complexity and cost of multiple networks. But the ideal system should offer a foundation of high-speed, real-time deterministic communications that allows data to be shared across the entire enterprise. The ultimate goal is the process transparency required for fully optimised operations that allows data to flow from its source to where it can be processed to obtain actionable insights, and then fed back into the process.
This supplement explores how Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) technology can address these challenges, and providing benefits for manufacturing:
- Reduced costs, shorter project timelines and increased uptime by simplifying network architectures.
- Ability to deliver greater process transparency and optimised operations.
- Higher productivity, as optimised processes run more effectively.
- Better integration of OT and information technology (IT) systems, as a converged stream of data can be easily shared from the factory floor to supervisory systems.
Advantages of new IEEE 802.1 TSN standards
Time-Sensitive Networking incorporates a set of major international standards that define both a method for time synchronization (IEEE802.1AS) and technology for shaping, scheduling and managing network traffic on industrial networks (IEEE802.1Qbv). Together, they provide deterministic industrial Ethernet technology that acts as the foundation for converged network architectures.
For a typical manufacturing system in today’s factory, data transmission for real-time, critical applications (including closed-loop controls and higher performance motion control) is implemented in separate networks. However, the growing flexibilization and digitalization of work processes require the increasing convergence of IT and OT, and the ability to consolidate previously separate systems.
By extending and adapting existing Ethernet standards, TSN enables a convergence of IT and OT on industrial networks. The result is that both real time-critical data and data-intensive applications can be implemented via a shared Ethernet cable, without interfering with each other.
CC-Link IE TSN
CC-Link IE TSN is a technology that combines gigabit Ethernet bandwidth with Time- Sensitive Networking (TSN), increasing openness while strengthening manufacturing performance and functionality.
The uniqueness of its communication method is technology for common time synchronization across the network. Input and output communication frames are simultaneously transmitted in both directions in a fixed amount of time, which TSN shortens using its network cyclic data update time.
Multiple communication cycles can also be used within the same network, making it possible to maintain a high-performance communication cycle at the device level.
TSN benefits for manufacturing
In this special feature, we explore how CC-Link IE TSN can deliver application benefits for a wide selection of manufacturing industries.
For a wide cross-section of industry from automotive to food and beverage and beyond, the potential benefits of automation and machine control networks are the same.
This includes convergence of multiple types of real-time process related traffic; convergence with other non-real-time traffic; convergence of different non-interoperable industrial Ethernet protocols; and convergence of OT and IT systems while ensuring all of this traffic is secure and protected from unauthorised access.