ODVA held its annual Hannover Messe press conference today (April 20), however, we all sat at desks in our homes to attend this year. ODVA looks forward to in-person meetings at SPS in November and at Hannover in April 2021. Working with other organizations and enhancing IIoT capabilities.

In brief:

  • ODVA LOOKS TO THE FUTURE AT ITS 20TH ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS
  • OPC UA COMPANION SPECIFICATION TO BE DEVELOPED FOR CIP 
  • ETHERNET/IP Enhanced to further address industry 4.0 and IIoT
  • ODVA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENTS WITH FDT AND FIELDCOMM GROUP AND CONTINUES XDS DEVELOPMENT TO EXPAND ETHERNET/IP TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM

Specifics from the press releases and comments in the conference:

ODVA LOOKS TO THE FUTURE AT ITS 20TH ANNUAL MEETING OF MEMBERS

ODVA held its 20th Annual Meeting of Members in Palm Harbor, Florida, USA on March 5, 2020. With over 120 industry professionals from over 50 companies in attendance, highlights of the Annual Meeting included a panel discussion titled “Can 5G and WiFi 6 Deliver on the Factory Floor?”, a keynote speech from Amazon Web Services titled “The Effect of Digital Transformation on the Industrial Automation Product Ecosystem at the Edge and Beyond,” and an update from the organization’s leadership on the strength of and opportunities for ODVA as a whole.  

Notable topics covered at the conference included Network Diagnostics, TSN, OPC UA, Constrained Devices, Ethernet-APL, FDI packages, and PA-DIM.

The leadership for the organization was elected and announced at the Annual Meeting. ODVA’s Board of Directors has top level responsibility for strategic planning and governance and is composed of senior executives from major industrial automation device and system vendors across the globe. In the 21st term, ODVA’s Board of Directors are:  

  • Dr. Rolf Birkhofer, managing director of Endress+Hauser Process Solutions for Endress+Hauser
  • Mr. Satoshi Kojima, general manager of network product management group, controller division for OMRON
  • Mr. David Lagerstrom, president and CEO of Turck USA for Hans Turck Company
  • Mr. Raja Ramana Macha, senior vice president for innovation and technology and CTO, industrial automation for Schneider Electric
  • Mr. Samuel Pasquier, senior director of product management for IoT industrial networking and security for Cisco Systems
  • Mr. Thomas Petersen, senior director of fieldbus and system integration for Danfoss
  • Mr. Brian Reynolds, senior director of engineering, projects and automation solutions for Honeywell
  • Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, vice-president of common architecture and technology for Rockwell Automation 

The corporate leadership of the organization collectively defines and executes the strategic plan, oversees development and publication of technology and specifications, and is responsible for governance of the organization. In the 21st term, ODVA’s corporate officers are:  

  • Dr. Al Beydoun, President & Executive Director
  • Mr. Joakim Wiberg, Chief Technology Officer
  • Ms. Adrienne Meyer, Vice President of Operations and Membership 
  • Mr. Christopher Lynch, Corporate Secretary
  • Dr. Jürgen Weinhofer, Treasurer

ODVA’s Technical Review Board (TRB) oversees the development of technology and standards for the organization including approval of technology enhancements for inclusion in the ODVA specifications which encompass the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP” and its network adaptations of CIP – including EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet. In its 21st term, ODVA’s TRB representatives are:

  • Mr. Joakim Wiberg, Chairman, of HMS Industrial Networks
  • Mr. Raj Bandekar of Honeywell
  • Mr. Rudy Belliardi of Schneider Electric
  • Mr. Mirko Brcic of Endress+Hauser
  • Mr. Paul Didier of Cisco Systems
  • Mr. Gregory Majcher of Rockwell Automation
  • Mr. Shinji Murayama of Omron
  • Ms. Roxana Sudrijan of Molex

OPC UA COMPANION SPECIFICATION TO BE DEVELOPED FOR CIP 

ODVA has launched a joint working group with the OPC Foundation to develop an OPC UA companion specification to the Common Industrial Protocol (CIP). The collaboration between ODVA and the OPC Foundation will result in reliable, secure communications between devices that are a part of a CIP-enabled Industrial Control System (ICS) and other OPC UA enabled applications allowing communication between CIP devices and OPC UA devices as well as with cloud and enterprise level services. Common tasks required for cloud gateway appliance management will be enabled, and CIP devices will have unimpeded access to leading cloud services. The OPC UA companion specification will address the challenge of moving industrial communication and control data from the factory floor to the cloud via gateways. “Connecting manufacturing process and control data from EtherNet/IP devices to OPC UA servers will enable valuable factory floor information to be made available at the edge and beyond for enterprise wide analysis,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA. 

The OPC UA companion specification will map CIP objects to the appropriate OPC UA information models and profiles and vice-versa. Sending data to and from the cloud from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will be accomplished by providing useful information including discovery, identity, diagnostics, status, parameter and much more from CIP devices. Allowing critical automation information to be easily transferred from EtherNet/IP to OPC UA will lower the effort required to enable access from higher level systems, such as Analytics, ERP, or MES. The OPC UA companion specification to CIP will ensure that data will be available to Enterprise and IT systems with proper context and semantics (i.e. meaning) for quick trend analysis and insight generation. 

A joint working group, composed of members of ODVA and the OPC Foundation, will work to identify critical device to cloud use cases, such as tying warranty costs back to production variations, that will drive the scope of the work to be done. In parallel work to the joint development of the OPC UA companion specification to CIP, CIP and EtherNet/IP will be enhanced by ODVA SIGs, as needed, to ensure that all of the pertinent data is able to be understood by OPC UA without any additional work needed by end users. “The time is right for the OPC UA Companion Specification to CIP to ensure that EtherNet/IP is prepared to meet the requirements of Industry 4.0 and IIoT,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA. 

ETHERNET/IP Enhanced to further address industry 4.0 and IIoT

The latest enhancements to The EtherNet/IP Specification provide improved network diagnostics, new methods to lower bandwidth and resource requirements for devices, and the addition of IIoT building block infrastructure. “EtherNet/IP’s continued leadership in the industrial communication space will be assured by adding new tools to manage the network, removing roadblocks to adding EtherNet/IP to the simplest of devices, and preparing for TSN with LLDP,” stated Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director at ODVA.

In addition to the recent enhancements to EtherNet/IP to allow users to obtain device diagnostics pursuant to the NE107 standard, ODVA has enhanced EtherNet/IP further to provide overall system diagnostics. The additional EtherNet/IP system diagnostics will enable a better understanding of the number of connections, resource usage, the number of Ethernet errors, missed packets, and overall CPU utilization. A common, scalable network diagnostic assembly definition for diagnostic connection points defined by other objects will enable these new statistics to help assist in network troubleshooting. Additionally, new provisions for aggregation of multiple I/O connections will provide a mechanism to multiplex many individual connections into one, which will significantly reduce network bandwidth. Runtime reconfiguration will be seamless and efficiency will be improved across the board, especially in instances where IO-Link or HART translation or modular I/O is utilized.

Updates to allow for constrained devices running on EtherNet/IP will enable UDP-only device communication with the goal of lowering resource and hardware requirements. Constrained devices are anticipated to significantly lower the cost barrier thereby further strengthening the business case to add EtherNet/IP to in-cabinet, small sensors, and other simple devices. Ethernet will be possible all the way to edge devices, including use of Single Pair Ethernet (10BASE-T1S), enabling end to end IIoT communication. EtherNet/IP, including CIP Security, has been enhanced to include constrained device definitions. Furthermore, the addition of the option to use Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) will enable nodes and infrastructure to detect other devices in near proximity, and for the physical network topology to be discovered and visualized. As a required component for TSN, the addition of LLDP lays the groundwork for easier adoption of TSN into the EtherNet/IP Specification. Along with existing network extensions, the TSN standards for sending time critical data via industrial Ethernet will be an option to meet the needs of high determinism applications, to add network design options, and to plan for the significant future increases in data traffic brought about by IT and OT convergence.

The latest enhancements to the EtherNet/IP Specificationare enabling enhanced understanding and therefore performance of the broader network, driving EtherNet/IP down to the lowest capacity devices through reducing resource requirements, and are laying the foundation for TSN. ODVA is continuing to drive the advancement of EtherNet/IP to meet the evolving requirements of IIoT and Industry 4.0 to meet the needs of CIP technology users both today and tomorrow. 

ODVA ENTERS INTO AGREEMENTS WITH FDT AND FIELDCOMM GROUP AND CONTINUES XDS DEVELOPMENT TO EXPAND ETHERNET/IP TECHNOLOGY ECOSYSTEM

ODVA  has entered into separate agreements to further integrate FDT and FDI technologies into EtherNeat/IP. Additional device description work on the next generation xDS for CIP devices also continues to move forward.  “ODVA is committed to making EtherNet/IP a best in class communication network for both the discrete and process industries and this is another significant step in that journey” said Dr. Al Beydoun, President and Executive Director of ODVA.

Joint ODVA and FDT Group activities are underway to develop an FDT communications annex to support the ODVA Common Industrial Protocol (“CIP”) on the new FDT 3.0/FITS (“FITS”) platform. The FDT Group has agreed to form an annex project group to develop a communications annex for FITS to support CIP based networks such as EtherNet/IP. FITS extends the client server / architecture concept that was available in FDT2 to now enable full access via the edge, the cloud, the Web and OPC UA. FITS is platform independent through the use of an open .NET Core as well as HTML 5 and JavaScript. 

FDT technology standardizes the configuration interface between field devices and control systems, independent of communication protocol, allowing streamlined access to device parameters.  When FITS is used with CIP and network adaptations such as EtherNet/IP, the resulting system provides users with a feature-rich interoperable environment for commissioning, control, and diagnostics. FITS also extends the interoperability of CIP Networks with other network technologies by enabling the development of network independent common software tools.

Separately, members of ODVA and the Fieldcomm Group (FCG) are working together to enhance the FDI Package Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and FDI Host Components to support EtherNet/IP. The goal is to allow EtherNet/IP to work more efficiently and seamlessly with FDI technology for the benefit of implementers. The FDI Device Package IDE makes writing, running and testing FDI Device Packages easier and more efficient by providing the tools for industrial communication devices across multiple communication protocols in one application. 

With easier creation of FDI Device Packages for vendors, more end users will see significant improvement in configuration, commissioning, diagnosis, and calibration as more EtherNet/IP devices support FDI. Control systems, configurators, and asset management software that supports FDI will be able to take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with FDI Device Packages. The inclusion of FDI Device Packages improves the interoperability and lowers the commissioning burden on end users for EtherNet/IP devices.

ODVA is also engaged in another device configuration enhancement effort via a Special Interest Group (SIG) that is making progress on a new specification for the next generation of digitized descriptions for EtherNet/IP device data, known as xDS. xDS will allow for workflow-driven device description files for device integration such as network and security configuration and digitized business models such as digital twins and cloud-based analytics. In addition to the specification efforts, ODVA is working on tools to simplify development of xDS device description files and their consumption by device integration tools, as well as conformance tests for xDS files.

The xDS device description for CIP devices will ultimately serve as a replacement for EDS files. xDS will enable the use of a wide array of tools and systems for both the process and discrete industries using established technologies. The rich information from the xDS customized device information file can be exposed to both FITS and FDI Device Packages. The work on xDS along with the activities outlined with the FDT Group and FCG ensures ODVA is in alignment with the next generation of value-added user interface, business logic, and device information technologies. ODVA’s partnership with FDT and FCG will ensure that both vendors and end users have the desired solutions and options to best meet their needs.  

ODVA is continuing to enhance EtherNet/IP to best meet the needs of industrial automation customers across the spectrum of vertical markets. These joint efforts with the FDT Group and FCG along with the xDS specification enhancement work are a part of the expansion of the EtherNet/IP technology ecosystem which will result in improving the experience of both device vendors and end users as well as to prepare for a future driven by Industry 4.0 and IIoT. The joint efforts between ODVA and the FDT Group and between ODVA and FCG will both benefit from the robust CIP information model presented by xDS.

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