The SPS IPC Drives 2018 marked a mile stone expanding Ethernet standards into the field level. The initiative of the OPC Foundation for OPC UA over TSN (Time Sensitive Networks), which from the beginning has already been joined by 21 of the industry’s most important automation companies, is getting on the fast lane. Norbert Hauser, vice president marketing at Kontron, explains
Kontron welcomes the initiative of the OPC Foundation. As the presentation at this year’s SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg made clear, the aim of the initiative is to create a standard from the sensor at the field level with Field Level Communication (FLC) to the IT level or in the cloud. The big players in the automation industry have joined forces under the umbrella of the OPC Foundation and support the uniform advancement of the successful TSN standard. The rapid and successful market advancement of the TSN standard is thus foreseeable.
It still remains exciting: Indeed, the big players in the automation industry have committed themselves to the uniform TSN standard and have decided to work together – nevertheless, these companies naturally compete with each other. It will be interesting to see how this direct competition develops and how the suppliers position themselves in the OPC UA over TSN environment.
We at Kontron have recognised the advantages of TSN and OPC UA and their great significance for the future of automation very early on and can already refer to a wide range of marketable TSN-based products today. Kontron has been offering industrial PCs and standard interface cards designed for TSN and OPC UA PubSub for a year now. This lays the foundation for the hardware infrastructure in convergent TSN networks. The commitment of the OPC members to the new standard and the speed with which it is to be implemented show that there is demand for in the industry and that automation providers had to react to it. With the rapid creation of standards, users receive the security that represents the basis for further investment. In particular, this step will also help Germany as a high-tech industrial location to strengthen its leading role in Industry 4.0 and IoT solutions.
Kontron is also pleased that leading processor vendors are already supporting TSN in their processors and recently presented its SMARC-sAL28 module with an NXP Dual Cortex A72 LS1028 processor and up to five TSN-enabled 1GB Ethernet ports at SPS IPC Drives 2018. This allows compact and cost-effective edge computers with TSN connection to be implemented.
This underlines Kontron’s claim that every device, every machine and every robot equipped with Kontron Embedded PCs is an IoT-enabled device. With our industrial PCs and industrial servers, we already offer a comprehensive infrastructure from sensor to cloud: from Edge to Fog to Cloud. The architecture is complemented by our IoT software framework SUSiEtec, which connects sensors, end devices and embedded, private or public clouds. We expect the OPC UA over TSN initiative, which was launched in Nuremberg this year, to generate considerable momentum for our offerings and are looking forward to the impetus we will receive in realising IoT and Industry 4.0 projects together with customers and partners.