Tsn Leverage 63512657cbeb0

How to leverage CC-Link IE TSN protocol

Oct. 20, 2022
Motion control can benefit from synchronized cyclic communications between master and its remote devices with high performance and determinism

Thomas Burke is global strategic advisor at CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA).

Tell us about a state-of-the-art industrial-networking technology.

Thomas Burke, global strategic advisor, CC-Link Partner Association: While there are many industrial network choices out there, they are mostly leveraging plain vanilla Ethernet. This has greatly simplified architectures and reduced costs, while enhancing performance. In 2018, Ethernet took another step forward with respect to functionality, with the release of time-sensitive-networking (TSN) features. The enhancements to Ethernet now enable network-wide time synchronization across networked devices, and traffic prioritization and shaping. These new features enable industrial Ethernet suppliers to offer new levels of deterministic performance, and more importantly, deliver co-existence with other best- effort communications traffic.

There is currently one company offering a complete solution of master controller and remote devices leveraging Ethernet TSN capabilities. That is Mitsubishi Electric with its CC-Link IE TSN protocol. Mitsubishi Electric leverages this new protocol as its standard communications, for example, between programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and its servo drives. The connectivity is as simple as Ethernet cables in a daisy-chain configuration. In larger applications, communications can be managed with new Ethernet-TSN-compatible switches, as offered by Mitsubishi Electric, Moxa, and others. In this configuration, the switch enables both information-technology (IT) and operational-technology (OT) communications to flow across the same Ethernet infrastructure, enabling all industrial components to become data sources to and be managed from applications in the business domain.

Also read: CLPA reaches milestone for open industrial network communications

What’s the most innovative or efficient industrial-networking technology application you’ve ever seen or been involved with?

Thomas Burke, global strategic advisor, CC-Link Partner Association: The one technology that is currently standing out as a game changer and differentiator in the industry is CC-Link IE TSN. CC-Link IE TSN offers synchronized cyclic communications between a master and its remote devices with a very high degree of both performance and determinism. This is beneficial to applications in motion control. In addition, CC-Link IE TSN offers transient communications support as is needed to support common information transfer for analytics and data archiving. Finally, CC-Link IE TSN also includes the simple network management protocol (SNMP) to enable device management with standard IT tools, a new benefit from Ethernet TSN technology, enabling the combination of IT and OT networks. As with the other CC-Link offerings by Mitsubishi Electric, CC-Link IE TSN is available as an open industry standard and is managed by CLPA.

Also read: Avnu Alliance expands TSN test tool program

When will industrial-networking technology become IT-friendly enough that engineers are no longer required for installation and operation?

Thomas Burke, global strategic advisor, CC-Link Partner Association: Industrial networks will always require some degree of understanding on the part of the design engineer, as they are leveraging a pipe for communications and will have to consider the limitations or design considerations of that pipe. However, vendors should be providing architecture examples and configuration defaults that will limit or remove these design concerns in all but the most complex configurations. In the case of Mitsubishi Electric and the new Ethernet TSN, CC-Link IE TSN support is delivered in its products with default considerations to maximize ease of use. Users are welcome to change the default configurations, but that is rarely required.

Also read: CLPA joins TSN Industrial Automation Conformance Collaboration

What future innovations will impact the use of industrial-networking technology in discrete-manufacturing operations?

Thomas Burke, global strategic advisor, CC-Link Partner Association: By leveraging Ethernet standards in industrial automation, the industry is tapped into an economy of scale that is driven by a global marketplace of both IT and OT users. While we may think of the industrial-automation world, our market, as large, it is a niche when compared to the IT market as a whole. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) benefit greatly by leveraging technologies that are compatible with the IT marketplace. In the case of Ethernet TSN, that will become the next standard, not only for the benefits in the industrial automation world, but also driven by the need to deliver improved audio and video communications over Ethernet networks.

About the Author

Mike Bacidore | Editor in Chief

Mike Bacidore is chief editor of Control Design and has been an integral part of the Endeavor Business Media editorial team since 2007. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at [email protected] 

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