Digital Twin Consortium Partners with LF Edge on Digital Twin/Edge Platform Interoperability

Work targeted to fleshing out the Edge continues. This news from LF Edge and the Digital Twin Consortium hits one of my keywords—interoperability. Industry does progress.

The Digital Twin Consortium, which coalesces industry, government, and academia to advance digital twin technology, announced a partnership with LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation, that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. Through the liaison, Digital Twin Consortium will work closely with LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry, an open source, loosely coupled microservices framework. The two organizations will identify and solve common problems in the establishment, management, and operation of digital twins through edge computing platforms. 

The liaison has been established to:

  • Showcase how a common approach to digital twin technology can allow edge platforms connected to real-world entities to interoperate with virtual representations easily and flexibly.
  • Accelerate EdgeX Foundry’s adoption of digital-twin-enabling technology and techniques. Specifically, explore EdgeX’s adoption of the Digital Twin Consortium digital twin reference architecture patterns to demonstrate interoperability.
  • Collaborate on open-source projects to facilitate the implementation and consumption of Digital Twin Consortium platform stack reference architecture, guidelines, and related deliverables. Collaborate with LF Edge on the language, definitions, and taxonomy used to discuss digital twin technology. 

“To advance edge computing, we need a global ecosystem that supports interoperability,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “With this collaboration, EdgeX Foundry aims to adopt and showcase the Digital Twin Consortium reference architecture and make it easier for developers to connect any digital twin to physical devices/sensors via EdgeX Foundry in their edge solutions.”

“Edge computing enables a new wave of applications and capabilities in many industries, especially when joined with other technologies, such as 5G, IoT, and digital twin,” said Dr. Said Tabet, Chief Architect, Office of the CTO, Dell Technologies, and Digital Twin Consortium Steering Committee member. “The agreement between LF Edge and Digital Twin Consortium sets the stage for a collaboration that will facilitate the integration of edge platforms and digital twin technologies.”

“We are excited about our collaboration with LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry,” said Dan Isaacs, Chief Technical Officer, Digital Twin Consortium. “Their knowledge and experience in the integration of edge platforms within organizations will be invaluable as our organizations collaborate to advance the use of digital twin technology.”

CESMII The Smart Manufacturing Institute In The News

CESMII—The Smart Manufacturing Institute had a couple of news releases around Hannover Messe. In one, it announced a cooperation agreement with the German Plattform Industrie 4.0. The second announcement concerned Microsoft joining. CESMII CEO John Dyck has been busily building out the team, building partnerships, and establishing centers of excellence. I expect substantial progress from this US Dept. of Energy initiative.

The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the US Institute CESMII cooperate to shape the Future of Manufacturing.

Germany and the United States are among the top five manufacturing countries in the world. The two countries’ manufacturers share an interconnected network of facilities and suppliers, including many small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Plattform Industrie 4.0 (Germany) and CESMII (US) are announcing their partnership to address similar challenges and needs related to Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing. For both manufacturing economies to compete, they need international collaboration to achieve major tasks like semantic interoperability, create data sharing platforms, develop workforce skills, and foster sustainable production. 

Platform Industrie 4.0 promotes the development of Industrie 4.0 in Germany by developing precompetitive concepts, recommendations and use cases for practical application. CESMII promotes Smart Manufacturing in the US by supporting precompetitive research and development, providing tools and test bed for new technology as public-private partnerships, and creating content for educating a next generation of smart manufacturers.

“Production is globally connected, and manufacturers are in digital transformation worldwide. Whereas digitalization provides great potentials like higher resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, we need to shape digital ecosystems globally and learn together to unfold these potentials. We highly appreciate the ongoing working relationship with CESMII and are happy to have CESMII on stage of the Hannover Messe to jointly discuss the digitalization of industry”, says Thomas Hahn, member of the Steering Committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0. 

As part of the cooperation, CESMII appeared on a Plattform Industrie 4.0 panel, “Shaping digital ecosystems globally,” at the Hannover Messe.

Technology standardization is critical to ensure that pre-competitive technology in smart manufacturing is interoperable across different IT/OT systems. Developing workforce competencies and skills is essential to continue the path of innovation and to drive adoption. These are highly complementary efforts that will help the US and Germany to ensure these systems work well based on common standards that are mutually beneficial. 

CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute, Adds Microsoft as Member 

CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute has added Microsoft as a member. From the press release, “Interoperability and innovation that can scale are essential for a more competitive and resilient manufacturing environment, and it’s a pleasure to welcome market leaders that embody these values to our Smart Manufacturing (SM) ecosystem. A relentless focus on these values is essential to achieving CESMII’s vision to accelerate the democratization of Smart Manufacturing.”

Microsoft brings their thought leadership, standards advocacy and enabling technologies to our members and our SM Innovation Centers and will engage with other industry leaders to participate in our Standing Committees, adding their insights to our Technology, Business Practices, and Education and Workforce Development efforts as we drive this ecosystem forward.

“This is a pivotal time for CESMII,” states John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “We are making great progress on many fronts, addressing the real challenges preventing manufacturers from accelerating their Smart Manufacturing and digital transformation initiatives. Our focus on enabling manufacturing system interoperability will have a dramatic impact on our energy productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness as a nation. A big part of that is defining and enabling the adoption of industry standards that will significantly reduce the cost and complexity of deploying Smart Manufacturing solutions. We’re pleased to see Microsoft take this step with us, advocating for standards, for interoperability, and creating a community of thought leaders that can truly transform this industry.” 

“We strongly believe in standards, as exhibited by our work with CESMII on key OPC Foundation initiatives, and we appreciate that CESMII is addressing some of the great challenges preventing the adoption of digital transformation at scale,” says Sam George, corporate vice president of Azure IoT at Microsoft. “The focus on interoperability, openness, and the crowd-sourcing of information models for manufacturing assets is an essential accelerator for our mutual vision to accelerate the democratization of Smart Manufacturing,” continues George. “We’re pleased to engage with CESMII and their ecosystem as an enabling force in this industry, working broadly to bring real transformation to this industry.”

CIP Security, Resource-Constrained EtherNet/IP Devices, Updated Terminology Headline ODVA Hannover News

ODVA’s annual Hannover Messe press conference highlighted new technologies that extend EtherNet/IP and CIP Security to “resource-constrained” devices. Thanks to advance in 2-wire Ethernet, devices that were too small or too inexpensive for a network chip can now join the EtherNet/IP network. There is an international movement to change traditional networking terminology, for example “master-slave”, that would be offensive to many. Here are the news releases.

CIP Security

ODVA announced that CIP Security has added support for resource constrained EtherNet/IP devices. CIP Security can now provide device authentication, a broad trust domain, device identity via Pre-Shared Keys (PSKs), device integrity, and data confidentiality for resource-constrained devices such as contactors and push-buttons. Additionally, a narrow trust domain, user authentication, and policy enforcement via a gateway or a proxy are available options. 

The recent integration of single pair Ethernet has opened up the door to overcoming lower-level device constraints and ultimately to expanding the footprint of EtherNet/IP. Adding simpler devices to EtherNet/IP allows for the benefits of additional remote diagnostics, asset information, and parameterization capability. The addition of more nodes to the network within the context of IT/OT convergence makes device level security a fundamental need to ensure that indispensable assets and people are protected from physical harm and monetary loss. 

The new CIP Security specification has added a Resource-Constrained CIP Security Profile in addition to the EtherNet/IP Confidentiality and the CIP User Authentication Profiles. The Resource-Constrained CIP Security Profile is similar to the EtherNet/IP Confidentiality Profile, but is streamlined for resource-constrained devices. The same basic security aspects of endpoint authentication, data confidentiality, and data authenticity remain. Access policy information is also included to allow a more capable device, such as a gateway, to be used as a proxy for user authentication and authorization of the resource constrained device. 

Implementation of CIP Security for resource-constrained devices requires only DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security) support instead of DTLS and TLS (Transport Layer Security), as it is used only with low-overhead UDP communication. 

Terminology Updates

ODVA announced that the April 2021 publication of the DeviceNet and ControlNet Specifications have replaced the usage of the words “master” and “slave” within ODVA references. Developers of devices for ODVA networks will now utilize the words “client and server” (EtherNet/IP, including the integration of Modbus devices), “controller and device” (DeviceNet), and “system time supervisor or active keeper” (ControlNet) to describe these functions. With the goal of eliminating terminology that is hurtful, these changes are the first in a series to update the entire library of ODVA specifications and documents to rectify the use of these terms. 

EtherNet/IP for Resource-Constrained Devices

ODVA announced that The EtherNet/IP Specification has been enhanced to allow vendors to bring the network to resource-constrained devices in-cabinet, including push buttons and contactors. Cost, size, and power restrictions have historically limited the usage of EtherNet/IP at the edge, where many nodes are still hardwired. However, the continued decrease in the cost of semiconductor chips has enabled increased connectivity of simple devices, as evidenced by the rapid expansion of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The sustained, strong growth of EtherNet/IP combined with accelerating IT/OT convergence has made it possible to deploy EtherNet/IP within cabinets on lower-level automation devices such as contactors and push buttons.

The inclusion of resource-constrained devices within cabinets on an EtherNet/IP network is enabled by recently published enhancements to The EtherNet/IP Specification including the physical layer In-Cabinet Profile for EtherNet/IP along with low overhead UDP-only resource-constrained EtherNet/IP communication. Resource requirements have been reduced via enhancements such as an IT friendly LLDP node topology discovery mechanism, auto-commissioning support, and auto-device replacement support. Additionally, a specification for a new select line circuit facilitates the efficient delivery of system wide sequential commands. 

The EtherNet/IP in-cabinet bus solution reduces interface components through use of single pair Ethernet (IEEE Std 802.3cg-2019 10BASE-T1S) and reduces node cost via multidrop cabling that spans a single cabinet with one interface per device and one switch port that supports many devices. Cost is further reduced via cables that use composite network and control power to eliminate separate parallel runs. The select line for topology eliminates configuration switches by enabling discovery based on relative position and allows for direct connection with programming tools during assembly for parameterization. Assembly time is lowered by eliminating most wire or cable preparation with insulation displacement (piercing) connectors. Nodes will also be able to be replaced with compatible nodes of the same type during normal system operation without any engineering tools in a plug and play manner. 

This will be made possible through reduced hardware requirements enabled by UDP-only EtherNet/IP communication, usage of single pair Ethernet, and shared in-cabinet external power and cabling. Adding low-level in-panel devices to the network will enable the benefits of additional remote diagnostics, asset information and parameterization capability, automatic node topology discovery, and plug and play device replacement. 

A3 Comes Together As One Organization

No, I have not been on vacation this week. Hannover Messe—from the comfort of my office in Illinois. No walking 10 miles a day. No padding the frequent flyer miles. No German food (my wife could have but chose not). In one interview today I was told that the digital format with ease in connections and conversations has worked out well for him. Those of us in America just had to somewhat adjust our clocks to Central European Time zone.

Here’s a short news piece out today. It’s been coming for a time. Today is the big day.

A3, which represents more than 1,100 member companies active in the automation industry, combines nearly 50 years of leadership and strong relationships within the robotics, machine vision, motion control & motors, and artificial intelligence communities to create the leading automation trade association. Under the new A3 brand, anyone interested in automation can take full advantage of the new home on AUTOMATE.ORG—from education and safety, connecting with new customers and suppliers, training, getting started, and more. Additionally, with just one membership, companies looking to maximize their involvement will have access to even more benefits.

A3 President Jeff Burnstein explains why the change, and how will combining the existing associations—the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA) and A3 Mexico—into one A3 help organizations looking to benefit from automation.

As we grew through the years, it became increasingly difficult to explain how the individual associations differed from each other, why companies had to join multiple associations, and why they remained separate at all in a world where companies are looking for automation solutions that often involve all of these technologies and more.

Look at all the technology advances that did not exist when we first started out as the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) in 1974: mobile and collaborative robots, smart cameras, embedded vision systems, deep learning, simulation, remote operation, AR/VR technologies, sophisticated grippers, 3D printers, and more.

So, four years ago, board members of the individual associations met in Atlanta and decided that the challenges faced by each group were the same. They recommended that we explore merging into one front-facing brand that would attract companies not just in our current technology spaces but also in areas like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and other automation technologies underrepresented in our association. The technology world is changing, and we had to change along with it.

The culmination of that effort is our united Association for Advancing Automation. Anyone interested in how to successfully apply automation technologies, from small companies just starting their journey, to experienced users expanding their applications, has a new home.  This new home features a robust offering of valuable benefits for automation suppliers, integrators, users, consulting firms, technical schools, universities, start-ups and more.  

Come join us as we learn to use automation to make the world a better place.

CESMII Expanding Its Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center Footprint

CESMII – the Smart Manufacturing Institute constitutes the USA equivalent of manufacturing initiatives found in Germany, Italy, China, and many other countries. I’m glad to see CEO John Dyck popping up in panels with Industrie 4.0 and other international conferences. We are in a strange geopolitical/business vortex right now where some countries have realized (in the US case—belatedly realized) that manufacturing is strategic for national survival yet businesses (as they have from the beginnings of civilization) have realized that they must engage with international trade for their survival.

While the world’s peoples sort all of this out, rest assured that there exists a US national initiative to promote smart manufacturing. Below is some new information. Perhaps you, too, can submit an RFP.

RFP to Create Industry-Vertical / Technology-Horizontal Smart Manufacturing Innovation Centers 

CESMII – the Smart Manufacturing Institute has announced a new Request for Proposals (RFP) to expand the network of Smart Manufacturing Innovation Centers (“SMICs”). These are a collection of visible, credible, high value, regional extensions of CESMII. Each SMIC works as a partner organization with CESMII, with strong industry engagement and core competencies related to a key industry vertical (i.e., steel, automotive, chemical processing, discrete manufacturing, etc.) and/or a technology horizontal (i.e., artificial intelligence and machine learning, new sensing and wireless data communications, process control algorithms and predictive models, etc.). 

Through this RFP, CESMII seeks to strategically expand its SMIC network through the addition of new SMIC partner organizations. These new SMIC organizations will benefit from their CESMII partnership in many ways: 

  • Increased national and global leadership as a Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center. 
  • Expanded portfolio and capabilities with access to industry-leading Smart Manufacturing (SM) 

technology, knowledge and thought leadership. 

  • CESMII-funded SMIC operating budget to implement SM technologies around existing assets. 
  • CESMII-provided SMIC Operating Kit to increase the return on investment of industry 

engagements and deepen the exposure to the manufacturing ecosystem. 

  • A dedicated instance of the SM Innovation Platform (SMIP) and relevant software applications to showcase the SMIC organization’s manufacturing assets and competencies and demonstrate its integration with SMIC manufacturing assets to create testbeds. This will further increase the SMIC’s visibility and engagement with industry. 
  • Potential to host membership Application Projects (self-funded) and lead working groups aligned to SMIC’s capabilities. 
  • Additional opportunities for publication, promotion, and outreach. 
  • Expanded Education and Workforce Development and membership-engagement opportunities. 

“Smart Manufacturing Innovation Centers are one of several strategic initiatives to highlight the state-of- the-art in SM’s impact on energy productivity, quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, and asset reliability, in manufacturing environments,” explained John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “CESMII is excited to establish this ecosystem to exemplify and espouse the characteristics, capabilities and behaviors consistent with the 4th Industrial Revolution. We are encouraging Universities, Colleges, Vocational Schools and industry Centers of Excellence to apply for our SMIC funding and become part of this exciting new ecosystem.” 

Up to $1M in federal funding is being made available through this RFP. Selected SMIC candidates will need to provide matching funds to bring the total RFP value up to $2M. CESMII anticipates selecting 3 to 10 SMIC candidates with a performance period of 16 months. 

CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and technological transformation and secure industrial technologies as national imperatives. By enabling frictionless movement of information – raw and contextualized data – between real-time Operations and the people and systems that create value in and across Manufacturing organizations, CESMII is ensuring the power of information and innovation is at the fingertips of everyone who touches manufacturing. 

Founded in 2016, in partnership with Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), CESMII is the third institute funded by EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. The Institute is accelerating Smart Manufacturing (SM) adoption through the integration of advanced sensors, data (ingestion – contextualization – modeling – analytics), platforms and controls to radically impact manufacturing performance, through measurable improvements in areas such as: quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, asset reliability and energy productivity. CESMII’s program and administrative home is with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Google Funds Linux Kernel Developers to Focus Exclusively on Security

As our world in manufacturing technology moves ever more quickly into software, open-source software becomes more prominent. This news is significant given funding from Google and the amount of work going on at the Linux Foundation that is benefiting manufacturing.

Google and the Linux Foundation announced they are prioritizing funds to underwrite two full-time maintainers for Linux kernel security development, Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor. 

Silva and Chancellor’s exclusive focus is to maintain and improve kernel security and associated initiatives in order to ensure the world’s most pervasive open-source software project is sustainable for decades to come. 

The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard(LISH) recently published an open source contributor survey report that identified a need for additional work on security in open source software, which includes the massively pervasive Linux operating system. Linux is fueled by more than 20,000 contributors and as of August 2020, one million commits. While there are thousands of Linux kernel developers, all of whom take security into consideration as the due course of their work, this contribution from Google to underwrite two full-time Linux security maintainers signals the importance of security in the ongoing sustainability of open-source software. 

“At Google, security is always top of mind and we understand the critical role it plays to the sustainability of open-source software,” said Dan Lorenc, Staff Software Engineer, Google. “We’re honored to support the efforts of both Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor as they work to enhance the security of the Linux kernel.”

Chancellor’s work will be focused on triaging and fixing all bugs found with Clang/LLVM compilers while working on establishing continuous integration systems to support this work ongoing. Once those aims are well-established, he plans to begin adding features and polish to the kernel using these compiler technologies. Chancellor has been working on the Linux kernel for four and a half years. Two years ago, Chancellor started contributing to mainline Linux under the ClangBuiltLinux project, which is a collaborative effort to get the Linux kernel building with Clang and LLVM compiler tools.

“I hope that more and more people will start to use the LLVM compiler infrastructure project and contribute fixes to it and the kernel – it will go a long way towards improving Linux security for everyone,” said Chancellor, Linux maintainer. 

Gustavo Silva’s full-time Linux security work is currently dedicated to eliminating several classes of buffer overflows by transforming all instances of zero-length and one-element arrays into flexible-array members, which is the preferred and least error-prone mechanism to declare such variable-length types. Additionally, he is actively focusing on fixing bugs before they hit the mainline, while also proactively developing defense mechanisms that cut off whole classes of vulnerabilities. Silva sent his first kernel patch in 2010 and today is an active member of the Kernel Self Protection Project(KSPP). He is consistently one of the top five most active kernel developers since 2017 with more than 2,000 commits in mainline. Silva’s work has impacted 27 different stable trees, going all the way down to Linux v3.16. 

“We are working towards building a high-quality kernel that is reliable, robust and more resistant to attack every time,” said Silva, Linux maintainer. “Through these efforts, we hope people, maintainers in particular, will recognize the importance of adopting changes that will make their code less prone to common errors.”

“Ensuring the security of the Linux kernel is extremely important as it’s a critical part of modern computing and infrastructure. It requires us all to assist in any way we can to ensure that it is sustainably secure,” said David A. Wheeler, the Linux Foundation. “We extend a special thanks to Google for underwriting Gustavo and Nathan’s Linux kernel security development work along with a thank you to all the maintainers, developers and organizations who have made the Linux kernel a collaborative global success.”

Funding Linux kernel security and development is a collaborative effort, supported by the world’s largest companies that depend on the Linux operating system. To support work like this, discussions are taking place in the Securing Critical Projects Working Group inside the OpenSSF