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Industry group collaborates to create communication solution

22 June, 2018

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.

Paul Brooks, business development manager, Rockwell Automation commented:

“Connecting technologies across an industrial organisation while maintaining multivendor interoperability requires a harmonised, interoperable solution that uses consistent information models, communication and application behavior (together known as application profiles).”

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

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 harmonisation. 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.

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