Time-Sensitive Networking in Profinet

Bob Squirrell of PI and the UK Profibus Group advises that Time-sensitive Networking is planned for integration into Profinet. The release is as follows: 

“A promising new IEEE technology for Ethernet that combines the bandwidth of IT (information technology) networks with the latency of OT (operational technology) networks is in the offing in the form of TSN (Time-sensitive Networking). TSN consists of a tool kit of standardized mechanisms that can be used in Ethernet-based networks. In the PI (Profibus & Profinet International) “Industry 4.0” working group, the requirements and goals for the future use of TSN in Profinet have now been worked out.

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The focus of the work is first and foremost on easy handling for Profinet users. They should be able to use the new technology easily in their devices or systems while still taking advantage of the existing knowledge. Furthermore, services such as diagnosis, parameterization, etc. should be identical as in the current landscape. The engineering, i.e. the configuration of the network, should also be performed in the familiar way. In this way PI permits an easy transition to the new Ethernet landscape and ensures broad acceptance among users.

In addition, PI relies on standard Ethernet technology so it can both draw on a broad selection of Ethernet chips for the implementation of the Profinet interface on devices and also benefit from the further developments of IEEE technology such as gigabit bandwidths. Furthermore, synchronous networks can be implemented for isochronous applications with TSN. Previously, networks had to be set up separately and integrated in dedicated chips in the devices. This is the only way to ensure not only that Profinet remains future-proof for users, but also that simpler setups will be possible.

Besides a stack architecture that is easy to integrate and scale, a further crucial goal for the use of the technology is a high degree of determinism and robustness to IP-based traffic that is not real-time capable. The reliability increases, since TSN allows bandwidth to be reserved on the network for individual tasks so they are not disrupted by other traffic. This is especially important, since a variety of protocols will be used side by side in future in Industry 4.0 networks. In this way PI incorporates parallel communication via OPC UA between stations on the system level or from devices on the field level to the cloud right from the start.

However, with the introduction of TSN, it is also necessary to simplify the engineering of the network for more complex systems, until they become plug-and-work-capable networks that permit reconfiguration during ongoing operation. In addition, the TSN mechanisms that arise alongside the real-time protocol procedure offer the options that PI is consistently pursuing.

Karsten Schneider, Chairman of PI, summarizes the benefits of this approach thus: “PI will expand Profinet with the mechanisms of TSN in layer 2, retaining the application layer on the higher levels. This makes it possible to migrate the applications to the new technology simply and incrementally and to take advantage of the advantages of an open, globally standardized IT technology.”

 

ABB’s acquisition of B&R examined

Alex West, principal analyst at IHS Markit in Wellingborough, UK, discusses whether the B&R acquisition will give ABB a boost in industrial automation.

The recent acquisition of B&R Automation is ABB’s latest acquisition and it brings an established range of PLCs, industrial PCs, HMIs, I/O modules, servo drives, and servo motors to the ABB portfolio. This is a move which gives ABB, one of the leading vendors in process automation, a step-up in terms of a discrete automation portfolio, which was an obvious gap in its offering.

IHS Markit ABB and BR Global Market SharesIt also brings access to discrete automation sectors and an established business with over 4,000 machine builders. By acquiring B&R Automation, ABB has expanded its ‘knowledge’ pool. It now has more expertise in discrete automation, which has strengthened its capability of providing products, and IoT solutions to OEMs in sectors like packaging machinery. There is certainly opportunity to expand its IoT solution business as the uptake of IoT technology has so far been faster in discrete sectors, particularly those that are consumer related.

ABB Chief Executive Officer, Ulrich Speisshofer, states that the combined global customer base will create huge opportunities for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with an “installed base of more than 70 million connected devices, 70,000 control systems and now more than 3 million automated machines and 27,000 factory installations around the world”. It does sound impressive. Does this make the combined company a concern for other leading suppliers of industrial automation components?

Globally there is little change to the competitive environment in terms of supplier rankings. According to IHS Markit’s Industrial Automation Equipment Tracker, at a global level ABB shows little advancement in the market share ranking.  It will gain share for products such as industrial PCs, PLCs, servo drives and servo motors. The latter two product rankings show the greatest changes for the combined company. ABB was estimated to be ranked number 32 of servo drive suppliers and now moves to a top 15 position. For servo motors, ABB was ranked number 35 globally in 2015; the combined business is now estimated to put them at number 14. A significant change, but not enough to pose a threat to the leading suppliers to these markets.

This acquisition brings the combined company into more direct competition with Schneider Electric as it now has comparable global market shares for I/O modules, industrial PCs, position control hardware, servo drives, and servo motors. The greatest market share increase is estimated for the industrial PC market, with a market share increase of 3% to place the combined company as the seventh largest supplier in revenue terms. The market share increase is estimated at around 3% for the operator terminal and PLC markets. This puts ABB as the tenth largest supplier of operator terminals and sixth largest for PLCs at a global level.

EMEA market impact

ABB will also gain the ability to scale the machine automation business in Europe, where B&R Automation generates around 65% of global sales. In the EMEA region, ABB’s market share is estimated to increase by around 3% for I/O modules when using 2015 base figures. This moves ABB to second place of the leading suppliers to the EMEA market, above Schneider Electric. In EMEA the combined company is estimated to have gained market share of over 4% for operator terminals and PLCs, making it one of the top five leading suppliers for these products.

Industrial communications

Another area of likely change is that of industrial communication protocols. B&R Automation’s POWERLINK and openSAFETY protocols could now become the standard for ABB’s automation products. According to IHS Markit’s Industrial Communications Intelligence Service, POWERLINK is estimated to be the seventh largest industrial protocol at a global level in terms of 2015 new node connections; sixth in the EMEA region. For openSAFETY, it is estimated to be the eighth largest safety protocol at a global level by new node connections. ABB’s acquisition of B&R Automation may see these protocols’ being more widely supported with a larger product portfolio, which could impact share of other leading industrial communication protocols.

Smart manufacturing

An area that may be worth watching is the ABB Ability Platform and how it will develop over the next few years. With trends to IIoT and smart manufacturing it is becoming increasingly important for industrial automation companies to develop and support software portfolios. This may be a driver of further ABB acquisitions as Spiesshofer explained to reporters “There will be more acquisitions…as one of the drivers of growth going forward, but there is no ‘must haves’ we are desperate about.”

The ABB acquisition of B&R Automation will fill a gap in the existing portfolio and will give them access to an established and loyal machine builder customer base. This will certainly be a concern for other leading suppliers to these product markets and sectors. The combined company will likely represent more of a challenge to some of the leading suppliers of I/O modules, industrial PCs, servo drives, and servo motors. At a global level, the acquisition is estimated to have made marginal improvements to the supplier rankings for machinery automation.

The value of Specialist Automation Suppliers

Engineers around the world are looking at how to benefit from the various solutions to the IIOT on offer: the article posted on 2 February entitled “How DCS Vendors see their IIOT future” covered the approaches being adopted by some of the major DCS vendors. This follow-up article, written for and first published in South Africa, in the Technews South African Instrumentation & Control Journal, March 2017, covers the approach of some of the smaller, specialist suppliers to their own selected sectors of the process industries.

While the major DCS suppliers try to work out how to provide revenue earning services from the growth of the IIOT, there are many specialist engineering product and systems suppliers who are investing in making their products easier for engineers to use in networks, and operate within the IIOT.

Most of these specialists are primarily focussed on the production of their valves, sensors, controllers or drives: this is their business – and they need their products to work with any interface the customer requires. Their expertise in interfacing their own products is the best available, they have an in-house systems knowledge base and capability. Most now offer this capability to their would-be product users as a service – offering a custom designed system incorporating the products. So look to these suppliers to offer the best engineering at an economic price, within their specialist field.

Typically these single-minded companies were set up by a design engineer with a good original product idea, and this has been developed and refined over the years. Often the company is family owned – and engineering / R&D investment takes precedence over profit distribution. Some such companies still exist in the USA, and a few in the UK, like JCB and Rolls Royce. Several specialist engineering product examples are found in suppliers originating from Germany, Scandinavia and middle Europe, where the culture seems to have encouraged their survival.

Beckhoff Automation

Arnold Beckhoff started his company in 1953: Beckhoff Automation now has a turnover of Euro 620 million, and employs 3350 people. The company implements open automation systems based on PC control technology, scalable from high performance Industrial PCs to mini PLCs, I/O and fieldbus components, plus drive technology and automation software. Supplying systems to many industries, Beckhoff works with and supplies components for over 15 major fieldbus systems. Motion control solutions solve single and multiple axis positioning tasks, and their servomotors offer combined power and feedback over a standard motor cable.

The Beckhoff TwinCAT 3 engineering and control automation software integrates real-time control with PLC, NC and CNC functions in a single package, and then all Beckhoff controllers are programmed using TwinCAT in accordance with IEC 61131-3. While the built-in TwinCAT condition monitoring libraries allow the on-site controllers to monitor the status of the sensors, to reduce downtime and maintenance costs, it also allows wider comparisons with connections to such cloud services as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. Other data connections are available, for example a smartphone app enables immediate local and mobile display of a machine‘s alarm and status messages.

Bürkert Fluid Control Systems

Bürkert was founded in 1946 by Christian Bürkert: it now has sales of Euro 412 million and employs over 2500 people. The product base is gas and liquid control valves, systems for measuring and controlling gases and liquids, plus sensors for monitoring such fluids, extending to complete automation solutions and fluid systems – this capability is known as their ‘Systemhaus’. While their products are now applied across many industries, their particular specialisations have been in sanitary, sterile and hygienic applications (food, beverage, biotech and pharmaceuticals), micro applications (medical, inkjet and beverage mixing/vending), and water treatment industries.

From the UK operation, Bürkert provide locally engineered solutions and systems for their pharma, food and brewery customers in particular. Locally made craft beers are a major growth area in the UK, and most start small, with no real automation. One example was Stroud Brewery, who needed to expand production by a factor of 5x, and preferably not increase their staff numbers: Bürkert designed a PLC system and intelligent control panel, which automated the temperature control of the cold and hot liquor tanks, and in the mash pan. In addition a system for controlling the run-off rate from the mash tun simply uses three separate Bürkert level sensors.

Bürkert also have developed their own ‘Device Cloud’, they call this ‘mySITE’. This collects data from Bürkert sensors around the world, using an on-site interface known as mxConnect – which can also accept data inputs from other sensors.

National Instruments

National Instruments was only started in 1976, in the USA, by Dr James Truchard and a colleague, who are still involved in the business. Now sales are $1320 million, and they have 7400 employees worldwide. Their declared Mission is to “equip scientists and engineers with systems that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery” – and their focus has always been to supply research establishments and engineers with open, software-centric platforms with modular, expandable hardware. This gives its own logistics problems, with 35,000 customers served annually.

It is difficult for me, as an outside observer, to relate the NI systems to an oil refinery or chemical plant application: but it comes into its own when the data handling grows in complexity – for example in pharmaceutical and biotech applications, and the sort of plants where engineers have a major input in monitoring the application. Mention cyclotron or Tokomak, CERN or the Large Hadron Collider, and NI and its LabView are embedded in their engineering control systems. All 108 collimators on the LHC are position controlled using LabView.

National Grid UK, which controls the distribution and transmission of electric power round the country, has adopted a control system based on the NI CompactRIO for the whole network. With many new power generating sources, HVDC connections, variable inputs from solar and wind farms, and the phasing out of major fossil fuelled plants, National Grid found that traditional measurement systems did not offer adequate coverage or response speed to handle these new challenges and risks. They adopted a platform, based on the CompactRIO, to provide more measurements – and also adapt with the evolving grid for generations to come. This interconnected network includes 136 systems, with 110 permanently installed in substations throughout England and Wales and 26 portable units that provide on-the-go spot coverage as needed.  The associated software systems provide their engineers with customized measurement solutions that can be upgraded in the future as new grid modernization challenges arise.

In terms of IoT developments, NI has just opened an Industrial IoT lab at the NI Austin HQ in the USA, to focus on intelligent systems that connect operational technology, information technology and the companies working on these systems. Many other companies are co-operating in this venture, like Cisco and SparkCognition, and the lab intends to foster such collaboration to improve overall interoperability. In addition NI has partnered with IBM and SparkCognition to collaborate on a condition monitoring and predictive maintenance testbed: this will use the SparkCognition cognitive analytics to proactively avoid unplanned equipment fatigue and failure of critical assets.

(c) Nick Denbow 2017

KROHNE emphasises networking R+D with new CTO Attila Bilgic

The Advisory Board of the Krohne Group has appointed Dr Ing Attila Bilgic as CTO and Managing Director of Ludwig Krohne GmbH & Co KG. He assumes global responsibility for research and development (R+D) and extends the managing board of the Krohne Group alongside the existing Directors, Michael Rademacher-Dubbick and Stephan Neuburger.

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New Krohne CTO Dr Attila Bilgic

Dr Bilgic’s main task is the “digitization” of the Krohne measuring devices and measuring systems, their networking and their integration amongst themselves, as well as with and into the digital systems of the users. The area of “smart sensors”, which Krohne has already pioneered with various research projects under his leadership, is also of particular significance. With more than 350 employees, The Krohne Group currently employs about 10% of all staff in research and development, with more than 350 R+D employees and a budget of approximately 8% of the total group turnover (in 2015 the turnover was approximately EURO 500 million).

The topic of networking has been the major topic in the previous career of Dr. Bilgic: prior to joining Krohne, he held various positions in the “Communication Solutions” division of Infineon Technologies AG from 2000 to 2009, most recently as Director of System Engineering. From 2007 to 2009, he was head of the Department of Integrated Systems at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Since 2016, he has been a member of the board of the VDI / VDE Society of Measuring and Automation Technology. He is also a member of the German Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Training on Profibus, Profinet and IO-Link in Industrial Automation

A highly informative training day will address the key practical issues arising from the use of these digital communications technologies in automated manufacturing applications. The event is free of charge, and will be held from 0900 to 1530 on 29th March in Manchester, UK. On 30th March there will be a similar FOC event for users in the Process and Hybrid industries.

With particular emphasis on Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, the event will cover the use of Profibus, Profinet and IO-Link in key application areas such as utilities, pharmaceutical, packaging, printing, electrical and electronics assembly, robotics, automotive engineering, mechanical handling and logistics, control systems and energy management, from system design and safety considerations through to maintenance and fault-finding.

Supported by demonstrations of actual tools used in configuration and maintenance, the seminar will be of great value to Designers, Production/System Engineers, Instrument Technicians/Engineers and C&I Engineers involved in design, operation and maintenance of modern automated factories and process plant.

The presentations include:

Introduction of Exhibitor stands and Profibus & Profinet Update, by Mark Freeman: Profibus DP – Successful Commissioning and Maintenance, by Dave Tomlin: EMC and Equipotential Bonding in Profibus and Profinet networks, and EN503102016, by Peter Thomas: PROFIsafe as a tool for Safety in Automation and Control Networks,by Peter Brown; Designing a Profinet system, by Andy Verwer: Profibus system engineering and monitoring, by Andy Verwer: Profinet for IoT, IIoT and Industry 4.0, by Derek Lane: The Features and Benefits of IO-Link, by Russell Smith.

Coffee breaks and lunch will be provided, for delegates also to visit the Exhibition of relevant equipment.

This seminar is ably presented by network specialists from member companies of PI UK, the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to support of advanced manufacturing technologies for the benefit of UK industry. Attendance is free of charge to pre-registered delegates from the user community, i.e. companies that own, operate, design, build or maintain automated plant. The event will provide delegates with an excellent networking opportunity and the ability to speak to the varied experts from the PI UK membership.

For more information please contact PI UK, or send an email enquiry. Online registration is now open.

For companies in the Process & Hybrid Industries …

Companies involved in the Process Industries may be interested to attend another of the PI UK events, to be held in Manchester the following day, March 30th. Entitled Practical Aspects of Profibus and Profinet in Process, the event specifically addresses the key issues involved in the use of advanced network communications in Process and Hybrid Industry applications.

More information on this event is available here, or send an email enquiry.

Ethernet added to Emerson Coriolis meter

J943 coriolisAdditionally, the transmitter incorporates a configurable I/O channel, which can be used as a discrete input or set to a mA, frequency or discrete output. This enables powerful application options with minimal equipment. For example, the discrete input can be used as a totaliser reset, the discrete output can control a valve in conjunction with the integrated batch control software, the frequency output enables a quick connection for proving applications, or the mA output can be used to tie into existing or legacy control systems.

The Ethernet upgrade is available with multiple protocol choices including EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, and Profinet.

To speed integration and connection with Ethernet/IP systems, the transmitter contains an EDS (electronic data sheet) file for fast access to instrument information with little to no manual setup. This also enables automatic AOP (add-on profile) generation for quick and powerful system integration. Pre-configured input assemblies allow users to select exactly what is needed from a wealth of information in a Coriolis meter, without burdening the network with unwanted traffic.

“The Micro Motion Model 5700 Coriolis transmitter has delivered proven value and unique differentiation to users. The rugged housing is certified for tough field environments, including extensive hazardous area certifications and approvals. The housing was engineered to provide easy access for installation, mounting, and maintenance,” said Jason Leapley, product manager. “Now, with the option for native Ethernet, users can easily access process information without going out to the instrument.”

ProcessingTalk.info readers will be aware that Endress+Hauser has used Ethernet on their Coriolis meters since the 2011 Rockwell Automation Fair: their unit was launched in about 2010.

(c) ProcessingTalk.info

T24 Wireless Telemetry Sensor System from Mantracourt

Mantracourt of Exeter has launched a new, upgraded version of its T24 wireless telemetry sensor system for multiple data acquisition in real time. The latest improvements include a 4x increase in transmission range, improved security features and smarter diagnostics.
Listening to the needs of OEMs and integrators who require a system designed to suit the many and varied applications they encounter, modularity is the key feature of the T24: it can easily replace wired data collection systems, reducing both installation and maintenance cost and complexity.
Latest upgrades include an increase in transmission range, allowing the system to transmit data up to 800 m (1/2 mile), far exceeding the range of other systems on the market. For added security, always a concern with wireless systems, Mantracourt has improved the existing toolkit software to enable users to assign security keys to the system and have also improved functionality to allow smarter diagnostics. New features include improved monitoring of the channels and as well as the ability to check radio link quality, execute commands and view and alter parameters.
Engineers at Mantracourt have also redesigned the integrated radio module and antennae to improve signal strength and integrity resulting in improved performance and coverage in the challenging environments where the systems are often used.
The system comprises a range of transmitters, interfaces, displays and output modules that can be simply and easily configured to suit individual applications. The transmitter modules have been designed to collect data from a huge range of industrial sensors including load, pressure, torque, strain, temperature, pulse, potentiometer and 4-20 mA/0-10 V conditioned sensors. The T24 still offers the original exceptional performance, including high measurement/low noise electronics, long battery life of up to 5 years and proprietary license-free 2.4 GHz DSSS radio technology.
To further add to the versatility of T24, Mantracourt is also providing free data logging and visualisation software. This allows users to log up to 100 channels and build visual mapping displays. Alarms can be set that can indicate under and over range and can alert users to loss in communication, low battery and error reports. In recognition that we now work in an increasingly mobile world, Mantracourt has also included a built in web server that provides a summary view page to other computers, tablets and smart phones, both Apple and Android.
See the Mantracourt T24 system on http://www.mantracourt.com.
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