Over the past few years, we’ve seen major advances come to automation hardware (e.g., drives, motors, controllers and sensors) and software with respect to how these technologies either enable or support greater connectivity on the plant floor. And while industrial networking technologies have certainly been keeping pace with—and driving—these advances, a convergence of activity between networking devices and the protocols that run on them appear poised to drive further advances in 2019.
On the protocol side, I recently wrote about the big news coming from OPC UA, CC-Link Partner Association and ODVA. A major technology participant in that article is Belden, particularly through its Hirschmann brand and its work with OPC UA around its TSN (time sensitive networking) down to the field initiative. At the same SPS/IPC/Drives event in Nuremberg where all the protocol news broke last month, Belden spotlighted the release of four new networking technologies: Industrial HiVision 8.0 for TSN applications, Octopus OS40 Gigabit Ethernet Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches, LioN-Power IO-Link System and SPIDER III PoE rail switches.
In its exhibit at the SPS event, Belden showed what it calls "the world’s first complete solution for configuring and using TSN in industrial Ethernet networks.” This Hirschmann technology combines the TSN firmware releases for the Hirschmann RSPE and Octopus II series industrial Ethernet switches with its Industrial HiVision 8.0, which integrates TSN configuration and supervision functionality. According to Belden, tool-assisted configuration with the MultiConfig tool in Industrial HiVision enables TSN configuration to be performed without having to log in to each device individually to set parameters, such as time synchronization and the TSN schedule. In essence, this combination of technologies allows for a single TSN tool to configure everything from an individual switch up to an entire automation network.
The company adds that “the combination of Industrial HiVision and the TSN firmware on the switches makes TSN usable in production as well as evaluation environments for the first time. With an extension to the integrated dashboard function, Industrial HiVision can visualize TSN schedules and allow the operator to monitor the TSN operation.”
Oliver Kleineberg, global CTO of industrial networking at Belden, notes that, because HiVision’s TSN functionality is available free of charge as a firmware upgrade, it provides users with an opportunity to get familiar with this key technology without the need for a starter kit. “TSN technology is a key driver to realize novel value streams in the Industrial Internet of Things by converging different automation networks to one automation backbone,” he said.
Belden also announced the availability of its Hirschmann Octopus OS40 full Gigabit Ethernet PoE switches. These switches:
- Guarantee high-speed connections with full Gigabit Ethernet options on all ports;
- Ensure network reliability under extreme conditions with a vibration and waterproof IP67 housing design;
- Include three housing sizes for 8, 16 or 24 ports;
- Save operating space with an L-shaped IP67 housing for efficient cabling and cabinet less mounting; and
- Reduce cabling to end devices using PoE switch variants.
In other POE news at the SPS/IPC/Drives event, Belden released its new Spider III PoE standard line of entry-level rail switches. These switches are shock-, vibration- and interference-resistant.
“As Industry 4.0 environments and intelligent capabilities become the norm for industrial sectors, the demand to source network power from one cable is much higher,” said Daniel Klier, product manager at Belden. “The Spider III PoE Standard switches were designed so that engineers can manage all their devices with one source of cabling and work more effectively in tighter spaces.”