Have Fieldbuses Peaked?

Have Fieldbuses Peaked?

I have watched the activity of growth and maturity of fieldbuses for many years. The promise of interoperability and many other benefits with Profibus, Foundation Fieldbus, DeviceNet, and the like were written and discussed in all the journals and conferences.

But Ethernet became widely adopted more than 10 years ago. Profibus developed Profinet. ODVA moved its protocol to Ethernet dubbed EtherNet/IP just to confuse everyone in the market and (I suppose) hoped to pick up a few unsuspecting customers. Many companies were interested in the benefits of Ethernet without the protocols and/or firmware of the majors. It really seemed to take over the world.

I spotted a press release from HMS Industrial Networks citing a study that charts industrial network market shares for 2019. I lost the release in my inbox, but I picked it up in Control Global after seeing a newsletter.

This is essentially the HMS press release as found at Control Global.

Industrial networks are linking more equipment than ever, which is why newly connected nodes are expected to increase by 10% this year, according to a recent study, “Market shares 2019—fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless,” by HMS Industrial Networks. The annual study also found that industrial Ethernet and wireless will continue to grow quickly in 2019, but it will also be the first year that fieldbuses decrease.

In 2018, HMS reported that industrial Ethernet had surpassed traditional fieldbuses for the first time, and this trend continues in 2019. With a steady growth rate of 20%, industrial Ethernet makes up 59% of the global market in 2019, compared to 52% in 2018. EtherNet/IP is the largest industrial Ethernet network with 15% of the market, while Profinet has almost closed the gap and is now at 14%. Ethernet runners-up globally are EtherCAT at 7%, Ethernet Powerlink at 5%, and Modbus-TCP at 4%, all of which are showing stable growth.

Meanwhile, for the first time ever, fieldbuses are declining by -5% in 2019, compared to 6% growth last year, and now account for 35% of new installed nodes. The dominant fieldbus is still Profibus with 10% of the total world market, followed by CC-Link at 6% and Modbus-RTU at 5%.

The transition to industrial Ethernet continues and is driven by the need for high performance and the need for integration between factory installations and IT-systems/IIoT applications,” says Anders Hansson, chief marketing officer at HMS. “For the first time, we’re seeing traditional fieldbuses are declining in new installed nodes. When it comes to industrial Ethernet, we see good growth for many networks. For the established Ethernet/IP, Profinet, EtherCAT, Powerlink and Modbus-TCP, as well as for the networks grouped in the ‘other Ethernet’ category. This fragmented Ethernet picture is very interesting, and it goes to prove that industrial Ethernet never standardized on one network as many predicted when the Ethernet-based networks first evolved in the 1990s. Just like the fieldbuses, the various Ethernet networks serve different purposes depending on industrial application.”

In addition, wireless technologies are also growing steadily by 30% in 2019, and account for 6% of the total market. Within the wireless category, wireless local area networks (WLAN) are the most popular technology, followed by Bluetooth. “Wireless is increasingly being used by machine builders and system integrators to realize new, innovative automation architectures. Users can reduce cabling and create new solutions for connectivity and control,” adds Hansson. “We also see increased activities globally around cellular technologies, such as private LTE/5G networks, as enablers for smart and flexible manufacturing in factories.”

Finally, HMS reports that in Europe and the Middle East, EtherNet/IP and Profinet are leading and Profinet is still widely used, while other popular networks are EtherCAT and Ethernet Powerlink. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is dominated by the CIP-based networks with a clear movement towards EtherNet/IP, while EtherCAT continues to gain market share. In Asia, no individual network stands out as market-leading, but Profinet, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, EtherCAT, Modbus and CC-Link are widely used, with the Ethernet version of CC-Link, CC-Link IE Field, also gaining ground.

Profinet Specification Now Includes Time Sensitive Networking TSN

Profinet Specification Now Includes Time Sensitive Networking TSN

I thought Time Sensitive Networks (TSN), an addition to the IEEE Ethernet specification, was a technology that held great promise. Some technologists I respected were working on it. Then it appeared the hype was about over. I haven’t heard anything for months. Suddenly arrives news that the Profinet specification now includes TSN support.

Profinet specification 2.4 has been completed and can be downloaded by all PI members. The specification includes TSN capabilities, and according to the organization, it is the first TSN version of an open industrial communication standard.

Gunnar Lessmann, Master Specialist Profinet at Phoenix Contact andLeader Profinet IO Working Group (CB/PG6) writes:

The Profinet technical working group CB/PG6, which has been responsible for creating and coordinating the technical specifications, has been part of PI since 2003. The members of this working group include more than 25 representatives of device and system manufacturers, technology providers, and chip manufacturers who cooperate in a very open and constructive way. I’ve had the pleasure of leading this working group since April of 2019 after having been a permanent member. The working group would also like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to my predecessor Reiner Wamßer, who performed this “volunteer” work with great success and commitment.

Using the corresponding IEEE standards in such a way that the fundamental properties of Profinet are retained has always been important here. TSN now offers additional capabilities, such as guaranteed latency and quality of service, high-precision time synchronization, and seamless media redundancy – all using standard Ethernet hardware.

For this reason, I am pleased that the publication of the first “TSN version” of an open industrial communication standard was possible alongside the approval of Profinet specification 2.4. Naturally, specification 2.4 also includes all the details on Profinet which are separate from TSN – as usual, Profinet will remain fully compatible with all previous versions.

As with all other topics, we are continuously working on improving the standard. With regard to TSN for example, experience gained from the use of Profinet in the field and standardization from the joint activity from IEC/IEEE 60802 still have to be incorporated. There are also new topics, like the integration of 10 Mbit/s, APL, and cybersecurity, which also affect the basic specification.

Profinet Specification Now Includes Time Sensitive Networking TSN

New Take On Edge Embedded Computing

I’ve been writing about how IT companies are taking their powerful compute platforms to the edge. Here is a balance view from an industrial network switch company combining LTE with Ethernet and embedding HMI/SCADA. Interestingly, it includes Node-RED and MQTT support.

ORing has released a new industrial dual 4G LTE M2M IoT gateway that includes Ignition Onboard and Ignition Edge Onboard. The industrial-grade design is compliant with requirements of IEC 61850-3.

The new gateway has built-in 8-port Gigabit Ethernet with 4×10/100/1000Base-T(X) and 4xGigabit SFP Combo ports. It also includes Ignition Onboard and Ignition Edge Onboard, for easy use of the powerful, web-based Ignition platform for human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Node-RED is also onboard, along with support for MQTT and other protocols. The Gateway is AT&T-certified and can be purchased with a bundled SIM card and LTE data plan.

The company has extensive experience in switch and wireless product design. ORing’s products have been deployed in surveillance, rail transport, industrial automation, power substations, renewable energy, and marine applications.

Ignition by Inductive Automation is an industrial application platform with numerous tools for building solutions in HMI, SCADA, and IIoT.

“We’re very pleased to see Ignition and Ignition Edge as part of this new product from ORing,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “Digital transformation is a big undertaking, and end users will certainly appreciate ORing making things easier for them.”

“We at ORing are very excited about the release of the innovative IGMG-P83244GC+-D4G IoT Gateway,” said Angus Shih, president of ORing Industrial Networking Corp. “This impressive technology includes the Ignition SCADA features and AT&T LTE cellular technology. This all-in-one gateway can provide powerful VPN cellular routing capabilities with database storage, Ignition, and Node-RED functions in one box to make IoT and SCADA applications deployment easier than ever before. It can also connect with Ignition servers and the most popular cloud platforms, including AT&T Dataflow, to build flexible edge-to-cloud IoT systems.”

Open Source Automation Development Lab OPC UA and TSN Project

Open Source Automation Development Lab OPC UA and TSN Project

Kalycito, a software company in India and the Fraunhofer Institute announce Phase #2 of the Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) Kalycito – Fraunhofer project. This project is to develop the standard for OPC UA pub/sub over TSN.

My interest in OPC UA and TSN (Time Sensitive Network) goes back a couple of years. I started writing about it in 2017 and continued throughout 2018. But I’ve noticed that the conversation on this subject has tapered off. There’s been very little news for a while. I wrote a preliminary white paper that needs to be updated. You can download it by clicking the square box ad on the right of the Webpage.

There is a working group within the OPC Foundation. I am attempting to get an update from it. If anyone wants to update me on either that or any other TSN news, hit comment on this post or DM me on Twitter @garymintchell.

Meanwhile, I did receive this news a couple of months ago and it got buried in my inbox. Kalycito announced the launch of 2nd edition of the Letter of Intent of Phase #2 of the OSADL project on OPC UA PubSub over TSN. Recalling the major announcement by several automation technology providers at SPS IPC Drives 2018 – who altogether account for more than 95 percent of the market – that they are now in favour of a unified real-time communication system, “it was noteworthy that these companies did not opt for any of the more than 50 different field buses or real-time communication methods used so far. Instead they agreed to unite behind the standard of OPC UA PubSub via TSN.”

The key driver behind this shift is that this OSADL project provides an OPC UA PubSub implementation under an Open Source license that permits integration into commercial software.

With products to be released in the market in mind, Phase #2 intends to work on these deliverables:

  • Configuration of TSN endpoints
  • Generic interface to TSN
  • Improvement of the real-time capabilities of OPC UA
  • Certification assistance and related code corrections of OPC UA and PubSub
  • Adding a security layer

The start of the new phase #2 project is scheduled on the first day of the Embedded World 2019. Following the successful phase #1 in which the first implementation of PubSub under an Open Source license was developed, there is great anticipation among industry members to join and continue the momentum in phase #2.

Revitalizing Manufacturing in Detroit

Revitalizing Manufacturing in Detroit

There are few things I find as exciting as exploring revitalizing manufacturing or production facility. When people and technology come together to make useful products in a clean and safe manner is art to me.

Therefore, I was happy that my Siemens contacts talked me into driving up to Detroit earlier than I planned to tour the Ford Livonia Transmission plant on March 19. I planned to come up for the noon tour at FlexNGate, but the changed plans worked wonderfully.

Ford Powertrain was a customer of mine in the 80s when I worked for a company that designed and built automated machines and then through the 90s when I was a sales engineer solving problems and selling automation and electrical equipment. So, I witnessed the beginnings of the evolution of these manufacturing plants from dark, dirty, smelly, oily, dangerous, loud environments to today’s clean, efficient, professional facilities.

Ford Livonia Transmission Plant

Mike Bastian, Advanced Engineering Manager Ford Powertrain, explained Ford’s journey from 2000 to present to increase use of digital in manufacturing—The Digital Manufacturing Strategy. He told me that since beginning the present system journey in 2008, they were doing IIoT before there was an IIoT.

Ford Livonia Tranmissions

Bob Groden, plant manager, described the journey that began with removing several obsolete lines, gutting the facility, painting and cleaning, and preparing for additional transmission assembly lines. This plant is huge. And he walks it three times a day greeting people and asking how things are going. As he told me, “I get my steps in.”

The three themes include people working together, safety, and quality. An important note: The plant continuously added people over the rebuild time all the while increasing automation. three themes; added people continuously all the while automating the plant. Groden and UAW Local President Keith Miller talk to every new employee class and then follow up with each later on the line.

Jon Guske, manufacturing engineering manager-feasibility, described a system the team built beyond the computer-aided engineering system—discrete event throughput simulation. It can connect to VR to help OEMs understand the process and product before beginning machine design. It even models chip removal in machining processes to improve manufacturing process.

  • Following are pieces of the Digital Manufacturing Strategy as bullet points:
  • Standard Hardware Architecture
  • IP65–removed all the large enclosures in the plant (aside, using Siemens because it could do it; one company went to management and flat out told them that Bastian was wrong, management said don’t ever say he’s wrong; another company gets to the spec via a work-around he didn’t like)
  • Common PLC/CNC
  • Common configuration and programming software
  • Integrated safety
  • Virtual commissioning
  • Obsolescence management (upgrade path)

Network Standard

Ethernet, specifically Profinet—called Control Production Network

  • Software Standard—Ford Automation Software Template
  • Standard function blocks
  • Standard HMI Screens
  • Standard linkages
  • OEMs are trained and must adhere
  • Lean Manufacturing Assistant
  • Process Configuration Management System
  • Condition Monitoring
  • Part Tracking System, extensive use of RFID

I had an opportunity during the tour to talk with Scott King, IT Lead, Advanced Manufacturing Powertrain, Solutions Development. I asked about the mythic IT/OT split and convergence. He basically said, “What split?” He sits with engineering advanced manufacturing lead and they discuss projects and problems daily. Plant projects teams include these roles—IT Solutions, Engineering, Product Lead, Operations. They’ve been working together for six years.

FlexNGate

FlexNGate is a Tier One supplier of stamped metal and injection molded plastic parts. The company has $6.5 B sales, 70 plants, and presence in many countries. It just built a 454,000 sq. ft. plant in burned-out Detroit neighborhood manufacturing parts for Ford Ranger. It is the largest investment in the city of Detroit in 20 years.

There were a couple of determining factors in the plant location. Ford wanted supplier to be local. The city wanted plants to locate in distressed areas that would also hire locally to provide jobs and hope to the area. They pledged 250 jobs, have 350 full time and 250 temporary and the plant is just a year old and still stabilizing processes after the significant production ramp up.

They run the new hires through training from such things as showing up on time every day, following work instructions, safety, and quality.

Two impressive facilities in one day. That’s a pretty good day.

Much Is Happening At The Edge

Much Is Happening At The Edge

The world is in Barcelona at the Mobile World Conference (except for me). But that’s OK, I’m seeing plenty of news. Much of it relates to the Edge. And as 5G heats up, expect that to emphasize compute at the edge even further. (Talk of 6G is best left for politicians who by and large are not technical…)

This news comes from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) where VP and GM Tom Bradicich has been using Twitter to tease this week’s announcement. HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System designed to help communication service providers (CSP) capitalize on data-intensive, low-latency services for media delivery, connected mobility, and smart cities. The system enables CSPs to process vast amounts of data in real time directly at the edge, based on open standards to boost flexibility and reduce costs. HPE also announced collaborations with Samsung and Tech Mahindra to accelerate CSPs 5G adoption, leveraging the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System to deploy the next generation of edge-centric virtual 5G applications.

IDC forecasts that more than 150 billion devices will be connected across the globe by 2025, most of which will be creating data in real time. As a result, IDC predicts real-time data to represent nearly 30 percent of the Global Datasphere by 2025. Estimated to be 33 zettabytes in 2018, IDC forecasts the Global Datasphere to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025.

To deliver new services that tap into this massive growth of real-time data, CSPs must transform their telecommunications network edge towards standard IT systems and software-defined architectures, such as virtual radio access networks (vRAN) and virtual cable modem termination systems (vCMTS). The open-standards-based HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System was therefore developed as a cost effective replacement for CSPs’ current proprietary edge systems, with enhanced performance and versatility for data-intensive real-time digital services. Additionally, the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System’s unique design delivers high performance and ultra-low latency for the most demanding use cases, including media streaming, IoT, artificial intelligence, and video analytics, in a compact and ruggedized form factor, equipped with edge-optimized serviceability and remote systems management.

“CSPs have come a long way in virtualizing their networks. As this continues, the distribution of converged communications and compute capacity throughout the network will accelerate lower costs and improve service”, said Dr. Tom Bradicich, Vice President and General Manager, Converged Servers, Edge and IoT Systems, HPE. “The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System delivers the capabilities of closed proprietary systems and more, but on an open-standards platform, combined with proven data-center class IT.”

The EL8000 delivers the capabilities of closed proprietary systems but on an open-standards platform

Designed for the real-life challenges

The massive growth of data volumes requires that CSPs deploy high-performance edge systems in their cell sites, often in remote and harsh environments. Moreover, this infrastructure must support many workload and quality-of-service requirements for which tailored slices of the network are employed. The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System delivers an combination of capabilities to meet these challenges, including:

  • Compact and ruggedized design optimized for harsh cell-site locations – Exceeding the requirements of industry standards NEBS and ASHRAE class 3 and 4, the system is resistant against hazardous environmental influences like heat, shock and vibration, as well as failover, supporting continuous operation between 0 and 55 degrees Celsius. The system can run rack mounted or stand-alone in any space available, with either a front-to-back and back-to-front cooling design.
  • Low-latency, high-performance system design powers data-intensive applications at the edge – The single-socket design, equipped with high-end Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, reduces latency and energy consumption. System components can be combined, scaled and hot-swapped to meet changing demands, supporting, among others, NVIDIA® Tesla® GPUs, FPGAs from Intel and Xilinx, NICs from Intel or Mellanox, up to 1.5TB of memory and 16TB of storage.
  • Modular blade and chassis options for use-case flexibility – With a range of depth and width options for blades and chassis, the system can be flexibly configured and scaled to meet new or changing use-case requirements. The flexible design allows CSPs to extend small- and micro-cell deployments, ensuring that cellular coverage can keep pace with increasing numbers of connected devices.
  • One-click provisioning and remote systems management ensures continuous availability and performance in far-flung cell-sites – HPE’s proven HPE iLO 5 technology and the newly developed chassis manager software enable remote provisioning, ongoing system health monitoring, updates, and management of HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge Systems across thousands of cell sites, from cell towers to oil rigs, without needing IT expertise on site.

“Collaboration between HPE and Intel has resulted in this versatile platform for network transformation at the edge,” said Sandra L. Rivera, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel. “Powered by Intel Xeon Scalable processors and based on open standards, the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will enable high performance, flexible and intelligent networks that are required to deliver high bandwidth and low latency for edge and 5G services.”

Converged communications

HPE and Samsung Electronics Corporation (SEC) are collaborating to provide a joint edge-to-core vRAN commercial solution based on Samsung’s radio network technologies and system integration services and the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System.

“Samsung and HPE combine their strengths in radio networks, edge systems, and telecommunications infrastructure to drive the change towards a standard-IT based and software-defined network edge,” said Wonil Roh, Vice President, Head of Technology Strategy at Samsung Network Business. “The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will play a key role in Samsung’s challenge to evolve our customers’ networks with 5G vRAN demanding intense low-latency.”

While some CSPs aim to deploy 5G from 2020 onwards, others may not be able to do so for a few years, potentially leaving entire regions without 5G coverage. As part of this interim process CSPs are turning to multi-access edge computing (MEC) software, which delivers many of the benefits of 5G, but using 4G LTE infrastructure. For this reason, HPE is collaborating with Tech Mahindra, a global leader in MEC software, to deliver MEC solutions based on the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System.

“Our collaboration with HPE and the introduction of the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System is a major step for driving a fast and smooth transformation towards open standards at the edge in the Telco and Comms marketplace,” said Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head, Engineering, IoT & Enterprise Mobility, Tech Mahindra. “As a leader in Telco and Comms software and services, Tech Mahindra sees HPE as ideally positioned to help us deliver significantly improved user experiences, particularly through the often-uneven transformation from 4G to 5G.”

Availability

The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will be available worldwide from June 2019.