Industrial Internet Consortium Announces Manufacturing Testbed, Releases White Paper

By IOT Journal

The organization brought together existing and first-time participants to test devices with a range of TSN capabilities utilizing the recently released OPC UC Pub/Sub protocol.

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The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), announced the recent successes of its Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) Testbed for Flexible Manufacturing. The testbed hosted its 10th plugfest in an 18-month timeframe at the Bosch Rexroth facility in Erbach near Frankfurt, Germany and brought together both existing and first-time participants to test devices with a range of TSN capabilities notably utilizing the recently released OPC UC Pub/Sub protocol. Twenty companies participated including chipmakers, network infrastructure and end-device vendors, and testing tool vendors, many of whom compete with each other.

TSN is a deterministic enhancement to Ethernet and a foundational piece of IIoT that enables Ethernet to be used for real-time manufacturing automation and control applications. Since its inception in 2016, the IIC TSN Testbed has advanced its goal of achieving real-time control and synchronization of high-performance machines over a single, standard Ethernet network through vetting technical standards and testing interoperability among vendors.

At its most recent plugfests in Austin, TX (#9), during a joint Avnu Alliance and IIC meeting on interoperability in February 2018, and Erbach, Germany (#10), vendors tested time synchronization (IEEE 802.1AS), scheduled traffic flows (IEEE 802.1Qbv) and frame pre-emption (IEEE 802.1Qbu), all key TSN functions. Other key developments include:

• Created two TSN demonstrators with equipment from more than 15 companies performing real-time control automation functions over standard Ethernet network infrastructure supporting the new TSN capabilities,

• Installed a permanent TSN interoperability rack in Austin with end-devices, network infrastructure and testing equipment for on-going and in-between testing of TSN capabilities by members,

• Developed an interoperable diagnostic data application based on the recently finalized OPC UA specification for Publish-Subscribe (Pub/Sub) so devices can communicate key TSN-related status information,

• Integrated testing tools from Calnex, Ixia and Spirent into plugfest activities, and

• Opened the plugfests to non-member participants to accelerate their TSN deployments.

Today, the IIC also announced the publication of its TSN for Flexible Manufacturing Testbed Characteristics of Converged Traffic Types whitepaper. The whitepaper describes industrial traffic types that the IIC TSN for Flexible Manufacturing Testbed supports and enhances the traffic type descriptions from the IEEE 802.1Q specification. These types include automation and control traffic types such as isochronous, cyclic and alarms & events as well as other traffic found in typical manufacturing networks.