How to harness your manufacturing data quickly

Industry 4.0 promises to bring manufacturing to the next level by creating ever more efficient processes. But none of this can happen without a network system that ensures timely delivery of manufacturing data to all who need it.

CLPA Europe’s John Browett, looks at why CC-Link IE TSN is the future of open industrial Ethernet technology.

The data driven approach of Industry 4.0 is driving key developments in every industrial sector. Timely manufacturing data provides actionable insights for improving businesses productivity, throughput, product quality and uptime.

Timely delivery of manufacturing data

But how to get this data in good time? In practice, it means increasing process transparency. This is being done by adding vast numbers of smart, connected devices that generate, share and analyse relevant data. Connecting these devices to open networks serviced by edge processors delivers actionable insight.

This is the principle behind CC-Link IE TSN, which builds on the existing CC-Link IE open gigabit industrial Ethernet network. The addition of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) further expands it with the extra functionalities

TSN is a recent technology standardised by IEEE to improve Ethernet determinism. Moreover, CC-Link IE TSN adopts IEEE 802.1AS – “Timing and Synchronisation for Time-Sensitive Applications”. It also includes IEEE 802.1Qbv – “Enhancements for Scheduled Traffic” TSN standards.

Synchronising networked devices to prioritises urgent cyclic traffic without loss of performance. As a result, manufacturers can rely on high performance integration of control, safety and motion traffic on the same network. With time cycles measured in micro-seconds it supports demanding motion control applications.

This determinism, combined with 1Gbit bandwidth offered by CC-Link IE TSN, supports the data growth that Industry 4.0 is now generating.

Open connectivity

In a proprietary (closed) network deterministic communications are not difficult to achieve. But users are gravitating to open networks as they allow freedom of choice for connectivity. CC-Link IE TSN addresses this challenge by offering an open Ethernet platform. Users are not locked to a specific vendor system and other members of the CC-Link family. Moreover, this latest technology from the CLPA further reinforces openness by adhering to the TSN open standards.

The ability of TSN to handle both cyclic and transient data on a single network also boosts connectivity. It bridges the factory divide between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). As a result, CC-Link IE TSN offers a barrier-free data flow at any level of the enterprise.

CC-Link IE TSN is compatible with TCP/IP, thus blending with other Ethernet-based devices. This allows producers to install solutions that suit their needs and adapt to any existing product designs. It ensures the unimpeded flow of manufacturing data.

Advanced performance automation network

Future networks offer advanced performance and connectivity whilst enabling efficient processes. Thus CC-Link IE TSN supports many Smart functions.

First, the synchronicity offered by TSN means that it is possible to gain deeper insights into system operation. As a result, troubleshooting is faster, further minimising downtime. Moreover, further analytics, such as AI-based predictive maintenance, are possible.

Second, users can probe devices on a CC-Link IE TSN network for status information without the need for special tools. They can also query them with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for diagnostic purposes.

Third, the CC-Link IE TSN builds on CLPA’s Control & Communication System Profile (CSP+) technology. This supports defining individual network devices on a network by a profile. Thus, minimising engineering time and simplifying configuration and maintenance. Further, “CSP+ for Machine” aids process transparency by treating a machine as a single device and extracting process data via OPC UA.

CC-Link IE TSN allows businesses to enjoy high-performance open network technologies. It is the basis for future-proof solutions to ensure delivery of manufacturing data for smart factories and Industry 4.0 requirements.


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