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Industrial comms organisations get talking

22 December, 2015

The 2015 SPS IPC Drives show was remarkable for the number of agreements and understandings signed by various industrial communications organisations during the event.

In addition to the interface development agreement between Profibus International and the CC-Link Partner Association, agreements signed at the show included:

•  a memorandum of understanding between the OPC Foundation and the Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group (EPSG), to develop interface specifications and harmonised access between their systems;

•  a collaboration between Profinet and Profibus International (PI) and the OPC Foundation aimed at running deterministic real-time traffic and open IT traffic on the same network, thus laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT); and

•  a cooperation agreement between the OPC Foundation and the M2M Alliance, aimed at integrating end-to-end security from small embedded devices vertically into enterprise IT systems and horizontally between device and services.

OPC Foundation president Tom Burke (left) and PI chairman Karsten Schneider at one of the many signing ceremonies that took place during the SPS IPC Drives show.

Other announcements at SPS covered the progress of existing collaborations. For example, the EtherCat Technology Group (ETG) and OPC Foundation reported progress on their cooperation, announced earlier in 2015, to develop an interface that will integrate existing devices and machines using communications conforming to Industry 4.0. Use cases have now been defined and the requirements for an interface specification have been drawn up.

The FDT Group and OPC Foundation were showcasing the results of their collaboration by demonstrating FDT and OPC UA interoperating from sensors to the cloud, and offering access to real-time information throughout an enterprise. The next step is to incorporate this work into a toolbox, allowing it to be built into off-the-shelf FDT-enabled products.

Although ODVA did not take part in the flurry of agreements with other organisations, it announced plans to update its EtherNet/IP specification including: implementing cyber-security enhancements; adding data models to make it easier to exchange application information within EtherNet/IP systems and with other systems; integrating EtherNet/IP data with Hart and IO-Link; and adapting emerging standards for Time-sensitive Networking (TSN) for use with EtherNet/IP.

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