Rockwell Automation Joins Group Developing OPC UA over TSN

Rockwell Automation Joins Group Developing OPC UA over TSN

A small group of companies proposed a marketing initiative promoting OPC UA over a new Ethernet standard called Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) in 2017 at Hannover Messe. I was privileged to sit in a meeting to listen to the proposal and subsequently wrote a white paper about it. I believe this is revolutionary technology for the information part of manufacturing technology.

Meanwhile, Rockwell Automation is beginning to regularly surprise me. They first went out of their twice to talk about truly adopting OPC UA and introduced a module for its control platform using it. The company has a long standing reputation for getting involved in standards it doesn’t directly control for the purpose of delaying adoption. But this seemed like a genuine adoption of interoperability recognizing that customers are demanding freely flowing information from a variety of sources.Just to add to my surprise was an announcement I heard about at Hannover that Rockwell Automation has joined that group of OPC UA over TSN companies, now dubbed the “Shapers”. This group is rapidly moving toward critical mass with rumors swirling about companies not (yet) a part of it.

The press release (I haven’t yet had an interview) states Rockwell Automation is joining industry leaders ABB, Belden, Bosch Rexroth, B&R, Cisco, Hilscher, KUKA, National Instruments, Parker Hannifin, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Schneider Electric, TTTech and WAGO (collectively known as Shapers) to create a communication solution for real-time and sensor-to-cloud applications in industrial operations.

The solution will be based on the OPC UA protocol, which allows easy and secure sharing of information across different vendor technologies and the time-sensitive networking (TSN) suite of standards, which helps improve latency and robustness in converged industrial networks.

“Connecting technologies across an industrial organization while maintaining multivendor interoperability requires a harmonized, interoperable solution that uses consistent information models, communication and application behavior (together known as application profiles),” said Paul Brooks, business development manager, Rockwell Automation.

“That’s what this group of automation leaders are combining their expertise to create. Our solution will give manufacturing and industrial organizations best-of-breed I/O device control, motion and safety application profiles,” said Sebastian Sachse, B&R Industrial Automation.

To ensure the emerging OPC UA TSN solution supports interoperability of different vendor technologies on the same network, the companies are engaging with industry consortia such as Avnu, IEEE, IIC, LNI 4.0 and OPC Foundation. The companies are also planning an announcement in the coming months on how to achieve unified application profiles, which is the last hurdle to device harmonization. They aim to provide one-stop-shop certification of the overall solution up to the device-profile level.

The companies have already published whitepapers on OPC UA TSN technology, such as an IIC whitepaper on converged traffic types. They have also made significant contributions to the recently released PubSub extension of OPC UA, and plan to set up a collaboration between the IIC and LNI testbeds.

This potentially holds great promise for end user companies and systems integrators. We can only hope it progresses.

Are We Ready For Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? Belden Is.

Are We Ready For Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? Belden Is.

Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) will be the most important addition to Ethernet and networking since WiFi. The standard has not yet been adopted, but it is close. So Belden is jumping into the fray early with a “TSN ready” product.

While I’m in Hannover in a couple of weeks, this is one of the things that I’ll be researching.

Belden is to release a software update for the modularly-managed Hirschmann switch types RSPE35 and RSPE37. The update, which will be available in the second half of this year, will enable Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) features. As a visible sign, the devices will have a “TSN ready” logo on the front panel. In addition, older switches of both RSPE types can also be upgraded for the new real-time technology. The “TSN ready” logo is not exclusive to the RSPE35 and RSPE37: other Hirschmann industrial Ethernet Switches with fitting capabilities will display the logo as well in the near future.

“For the first time, TSN allows a simultaneous transfer of time-critical and non-time-critical data with a guaranteed end-to-end latency via Ethernet in accordance with IEEE 802.1 and 802.3,” says Dr. Oliver Kleineberg, advanced development manager at Belden. He adds: “Because of the comprehensive functions and high bandwidths, the technology is suitable for nearly all automation applications. Moreover, since TSN is not a proprietary system like many other established real-time solutions, it can be used with devices from different manufacturers, which paves the way for the Industry 4.0 in modern heterogeneous industrial networks.”

The managed switches of the RSPE product family consist of a basic unit with eight twisted pair and four combo ports, which can be expanded through the various media modules. The RSPE35 and RSPE37 versions support the Precision Time Protocol (PTP) in accordance with IEEE 1588-2008 and feature a FPGA module (Field Programmable Gate Array), which means it’s possible to implement selective hardware-based redundancy mechanisms such as HSR (High-availability Seamless Redundancy), PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) and DLR (Device Level Ring) directly in the field. The new software update, which also enables TSN, can now be loaded into the FPGA as an alternative to previous redundancy mechanisms. “This provides users with an additional possibility for responding flexibly to the wide range of requirements and building high-performance industrial IT infrastructures,” according to Dr. Kleineberg.

For additional information about TSN, please refer this white paper “TSN – Time Sensitive Networking”.

Are We Ready For Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? Belden Is.

Low Cost Wireless Solutions for the Automation Markets

The “Wireless Wars” are long over. We just don’t hear much about wireless sensor networks anymore. They work. People use them. However, one of the dreams of these included the thought of spreading low-cost sensors around the plant so that managers, operators, and engineers could have more knowledge of the status of the plant.

Dave Smith (CEO) and Chuck Micallef (CMO), a couple of gentlemen I’ve known for years, stopped me at the ARC Forum a few weeks ago to tell me about a new, lower cost wireless sensor system.

Wireless Industrial Networks (WIN) announced a cost-effective wireless process sensing and condition-based monitoring solution. The wireless products include a Gateway, Universal Transmitter and selection of measurement sensors. WIN’s wireless solutions are designed to change the way the industry thinks about industrial wireless.

The products are simple to select, easy to use and have a significantly lower price than most other alternatives. Wireless applications are easier to justify and faster to start-up than wired. The communication transmission is industry standard 900 MHz, is license free, and has a range of 5,280 feet. The self-configuring communication network is “plug & play” and will be working in minutes rather than hours and requires no prior wireless experience. The complete price for a single measurement starts at just $1,300.00!

“Our products are designed to address the general purpose, condition-based monitoring applications which make up a large percentage of all automation applications,” says Smith, CEO and Owner of WIN. “Our cost-effective wireless solutions give you everything you need and nothing that you don’t! Not all applications require expensive explosion-proof devices so why pay for what you don’t need? Our customers want simple, easy-to-use, cost-effective wireless measurement solutions to address the ever-increasing need for additional measurement without the high engineering and wiring cost.”

The WIN wireless solution consist of 4 items:

  1. Wireless Gateway – a small, lightweight, 900 MHz communication gateway with standard Ethernet output and supports 200+ transmitters located 5,280 feet away.
  2. Universal Wireless Transmitter – battery (replaceable) powered transmitter accepts up to 3 universal sensor inputs, mix of any sensor measurement types, 900 MHz, IEEE 802.15.4 standard radio, frequency-hopping, auto configure and AES 128-bit industry standard encryption in a small light-weight NEMA 4x enclosure.
  3. Sensors – a complete line of measurement sensors using our V-Bus patented technology uniquely characterizes each sensor with a pre-programing calibration curve eliminating the need for on-site calibration, Sensors include temperature, pressure, 4-20 mA, current voltage, humidity/temperature, dual temperature, vibration, discrete, proximity and more.
  4. DataManager and Web Dashboard – these PC-based software applications are included with the gateway and provide a clear, simple to understand status of all network sensors and is an intuitive navigation tool used to access sensor details and measurement history. Features include: scaled engineering unit, alarm settings, bright easy-to-see measurement status indicators, measurement groups, email/text message for alerts and more.

Common applications include: motor temperature and current draw, pump vibration, bearing vibration or temperature monitoring, conveyor vibration monitoring, exhaust and cooling tower fan monitoring, filter monitoring and many more. The products are flexible and reliable.

Are We Ready For Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? Belden Is.

Internet of Things IP Testing Service

A useful Internet of Things (IoT) requires interoperability; and, interoperability requires testing to assure that thing work together. Here is news of a test lab for IPv6.

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), an independent provider of broad-based testing and standards conformance services for the networking industry, has announced the launch of the Internet of Things (IoT) IP Testing Services. Created to offer custom Internet Protocol (IP) test services for IoT products specific to home environments, industrial networks, smart cities, and connected cars, the group will help improve IoT interoperability, reducing time-to-market and enhancing the customer experience. The IoT IP Testing Services will also offer testing for the IPv6 Ready IoT Logo launching in Spring 2017.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected and demand for IoT devices grows, companies are facing the challenge of how best to ensure interoperability, functionality, and security, while maximizing quality of experience for customers,” said Timothy Winters, Senior Executive, Software and IP networking, UNH-IOL. “The UNH-IOL IoT IP Testing Services provide a competitive advantage by enabling emerging IoT companies to validate their devices through trusted, third-party interoperability testing.”

One of the first labs approved to issue the IPv6 Forum’s IPv6 Ready logo, UNH-IOL’s IoT IP Testing Services deliver access to a multimillion-dollar test bed, custom IP testing services, and an array of networking experts with more than 60 years of combined experience in IPv6 protocols and testing. Emerging loT companies will gain competitive benefits from the group’s services, such as increased confidence in interoperability between security functionality, and accelerated market deployment cycles.

“Operators’ networks will need to evolve in order to address the coming IoT opportunity, and consider how security will play a role in IoT configuration agility and smart service flexibility for vertical industries,” said Lancen LaChance, Vice President Product Management, GlobalSign. “Ensuring IoT device security and identity is essential, as illustrated by recent DDoS attacks. By having their devices validated through the IoT IP Testing Services, IoT device manufacturers can be certain their products are optimized for and compliant with operator security requirements and changing network conditions.”

The IPv6 Forum is developing an IPv6 Ready Logo specifically for the IoT market. The logo validates basic IPv6 functionality, addressing privacy, and domain name system (DNS) services. This extensible service will have the ability to address future security request for comments (RFCs) such as data transport layer security (DTLS), Lightweight IKEv2, and simple certificate enrollment protocol (SCEP). Beginning in spring 2017, the IoT IP Testing Services will begin offering testing for the IPv6 Ready Logo to companies demonstrating verified protocol implementation and validated interoperability between IPv6 products. The IPv6 Ready Logo serves as a marketing Logo l, giving consumers the confidence of interoperability when purchasing new devices.

“Ensuring IoT devices operate correctly in different settings is essential for IoT manufacturers to meet new customer demand,” said David Blaine, Lead Software Engineer, Hayward Industries, Inc. “From TVs to game consoles to thermostats, there is an influx of consumer-based IoT products already reaching the marketplace. With access to extensive test beds at the UNH-IOL, manufacturers can ensure their products function as designed in the environments in which they will be deployed.”

For more information on the IPv6 Ready logo or the IoT IP Testing Services, please visit http://bit.ly/IoTIPTestingServices.

For additional information, please view the UNH-IOL IoT IP Testing Services Press Conference.

 

About the UNH-IOL

Founded in 1988, the UNH-IOL provides independent, broad-based interoperability and standards conformance testing for data, telecommunications and storage networking products and technologies. Combining extensive staff experience, standards-bodies participation and a 28,000+ square foot facility, the UNH-IOL helps companies efficiently and cost effectively deliver products to the market.

Are We Ready For Time Sensitive Networking (TSN)? Belden Is.

Smart Manufacturing Networks Cyber Security

This partnership enhances both OT and IT cyber security for industrial smart manufacturing networks. SCADAfence cyber security

SCADAfence, a pioneer in securing industrial networks in smart manufacturing industries, announced Feb. 24 an alliance with Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. This collaboration mitigates the inherent risks for manufacturers, such as operational downtime, process manipulation and theft of intellectual property, that can come with connecting operation technology (OT) networks with traditional information technology (IT) networks, in the pharmaceutical, chemical, automotive and food & beverage industries.

“We are excited to join forces with Check Point to provide manufacturers with a holistic solution that effectively protects IT/OT environments,” said Yoni Shohet, Co-founder and CEO of SCADAfence. “Together, we have developed a platform that strikes the perfect balance between security and availability by ensuring operational continuity while maximizing the pace of manufacturing.”

While combining OT and IT environments reduces costs and improves productivity for smart manufacturing companies, connecting the two environments opens OT networks to an array of risks, from malicious malware to non-malicious human error. The integration of SCADAfence’s solution and Check Point’s security solutions for IT and OT creates a comprehensive, risk-free security solution for entire industrial networks and provides security administrators with a single pane of glass for IT and OT security incidents.

With SCADAfence’s passive, non-intrusive solution, administrators and operators have visibility of day-to-day industrial operations and real-time detection of cyber-attacks. Smart manufacturers can also leverage the technology to improve their planning of IT/OT network separation, and internal OT segmentation within industrial networks.

“Check Point’s ICS/SCADA cyber security solutions provide advanced threat prevention paired with ruggedized appliance options and comprehensive protocol support with full visibility and granular control of SCADA traffic in order to ensure vital industrial assets are never compromised,” said Alon Kantor, vice president of business development, Check Point. “We are pleased to have SCADAfence join us in offering an augmented solution to help keep customers one step ahead in securing these critical infrastructure and industrial control organizations”