24 Jul 2024


CC-Link announces ‘first’ industrial network with TSN

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) claims that it will be the first organisation to offer an open industrial network that uses Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) technology. At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, it announced that it has completed a specification that adds TSN to its existing CC-Link IE Ethernet-based network, which supports operating speeds up to 1Gbit/s.

The new CC-Link IE TSN network will ensure real-time control communications even when integrated with IT systems and mixed with other open networks. TSN will allow machine control to be integrated with IT communications on the same Ethernet cable, and to provide deterministic messaging for real-time control. Systems will be configured flexibly using standard Ethernet devices.

The first products to support the new standard are likely to be released by Mitsubishi Electric in the spring of 2019. The company has announced plans to produce compatible PLCs, industrial PCs, servo amplifiers, HMIs, drives and robots. It says that CC-Link IE TSN will allow general-purpose I/O control, motion, safety and standard Ethernet devices to co-exist on one network, simplifying system designs and cutting costs. The high-speed communications will reduce cycle times and boost productivity, while precision motion control will improve production quality.

Another potential attraction of the new technology is that it supports slave-to-slave communications, allowing synchronous communications between devices such as servodrives, inverters and remote I/Os, without needing a master controller. Mitsubishi says that this will lead to accurate synchronous control with no dead time.

CLPA has named more than 50 other companies that say they are considering developing CC-Link IE TSN compatible products. They include 3M, Advantech, Balluff, Belden, Cisco, Cognex, Festo, Hilscher, HMS, Idec, Molex, Panasonic, Phoenix Contact, Schneider Electric, SMC, Weidmuller, Yokogawa and Zuken.

CC-Link IE was released in 2007 as the first 1Gbit/s Ethernet-based open industrial network for general input/output control applications. It has since been enhanced to include safety and motion control. It combines high-speed and large-capacity control communications (cyclic data) with non-control communication (transient data). It not only controls and monitors production sites, but also collects and analyses information.

CLPA reports, however, that as IIoT systems have emerged in recent years, there has been an increasing need for devices that implement general-purpose Ethernet communications. There has also been a growing demand for high-performance motion controls and for protocol implementations for various types of equipment. CLPA has developed CC-Link IE TSN in response to these demands, improving “significantly” on the performance and functions of CC-Link IE. In addition, it has increased the openness of the network through its use of TSN technology for time sharing.

CLPA says that CC-Link IE TSN will allow information to be collected from end-devices by IP communication, while securing communications for real-time control. It also offers a “best in class” motion control cycle time of less than 31.25µs, while the segregation of high- and low-performance device communications will optimise the performance for all network stations and for the system as a whole.

CC-Link IE TSN will simplify network diagnosis by supporting the use of general-purpose Ethernet diagnostic tools that comply with SNMP. Mitsubishi plans to offer an engineering tool that detects TSN-compatible products on a network automatically, reducing set-up times. Another time-saver will be automatic parameter registration from a master station to slave stations, making it easier to replace devices or expand an installation.

Time synchronisation of compatible devices will make it easier to investigate the cause of any problems. The new technology supports both 1Gbit/s and 100Mbit/s and offers a choice of hardware (ASIC and other devices) or software (protocol stack) development methods. It will be backwards-compatible with existing CC-Link IE networks.