March 2019

27 March 2019 EXECUTIVE VIEWPOINT n What will TSN mean for you? As information has become the new oil for manufacturing industries worldwide, the ability to handle large volumes of data has increased its importance significantly. TSN has recently gained attention as a tool to address this issue. This technology, first developed by the IEEE 802.1 working group for professional audiovisual systems, has the potential to overcome the past limitations of standard industrial Ethernet networking that held back its further proliferation into sectors such as automotive and manufacturing. More precisely, the IEEE 802.1 series of open technical standards aims to establish determinism and to converge IT with OT. In this way, a single industrial Ethernet technology can manage both cyclic and transient data, while ensuring the successful delivery of time-critical data. In particular, innovative TSN networks are designed to schedule traffic efficiently, avoiding delays. TSN technology and its governing guidelines are currently a work in progress. While standards such as IEEE 802.1Qbv: Enhancements for Scheduled Traffic have been finalised, others are still under development or are being revised, such as IEEE 802.1AS-Rev: Timing and Synchronization for Time-Sensitive Applications . So how does this affect network technology and automation engineers? While the solution from IEEE is designed to offer interconnectivity and compatibility, those who are currently implementing the first TSN products may be using different standards, resulting in de facto incompatible devices. Consequently, at this early stage, good advice to end- users would be to select TSN products carefully – for example, choosing systems based on currently-approved IEEE 802.1 standards. To avoid future problems with this, the IEC/IEEE 60802 working group is currently working on standardising TSN for industrial automation. The CLPA has decided to adopt the approved standard IEEE 802.1AS as the basis for time-sensitive communications, and IEEE 802.1Qbv for the latest CC-Link IE TSN network technology. As the market moves on, we will witness the consolidation and adoption of TSN in a host of existing applications, as well as an increase in the use of open technologies in a wider range of solutions. We are already seeing this with the recent announcement from the SPS/IPC/Drives 2018 exhibition about the plan for OPC UA to use TSN down to the field level and its support by all the main automation vendors, including key CLPA partner Mitsubishi Electric. However, these will not be the only trends in industrial communications. While TSN provides the tools for traffic scheduling and prioritisation of time-critical messages, bandwidth will still be essential to support the continuously increasing volumes of cyclic and transient data merging on the same network, with Gigabit capacity becoming ever more essential. n General Manager, CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) Europe John Browett Drives & Controls has asked leaders from the automation and motion engineering sector to give their views on topics that they believe are vital to the sector. Over the next 29 pages, you can read the opinions of wide range of contributors from different parts the industry on a variety of subjects, both technical and nontechnical. If you agree – or disagree – with any of them, let us know. EXECUTIVE VIEWPOINT 2019