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IIC Smart Manufacturing Connectivity for Brown-field Sensors

The discrete manufacturing domain is characterized by a strictly hierarchical structure of the automation systems, commonly referred to as the automation pyramid. Data acquired by a sensor typically flows through an IO-module into a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) which manages the local real-time control system. As all process data are concentrated in the PLC, re-programming the PLC and thus, implementing interfaces to access these data appear to be the natural choice to transfer them to the IT system. However, for brownfield installations this choice has proven impracticable for the following two reasons:

In brownfield facilities, PLC usually operate within a once-specified environment and are rarely re-programmed. That is why the active staff is often not familiar with the code and lacks of the competence to modify the existing implementation in a reasonable amount of time.

Furthermore, for cost reasons, any PLC was selected to exactly match the requirements of the environment within which it was intended to operate. That is why it cannot be assumed that a PLC will be able to support additional tasks such as communicating data through additional interfaces.

  • TE Connectivity
    TE Connectivity is a $12 billion global technology leader. Our connectivity and sensor solutions are essential in today’s increasingly connected world. We collaborate with engineers to transform their concepts into creations – redefining what’s possible using intelligent, efficient and high-performing TE products and solutions proven in harsh environments. Our 72,000 people, including over 7,000 engineers, partner with customers in close to 150 countries across a wide range of industries.
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Discrete Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing System Automation
    Manufacturing system automation integrates software and machinery so that manufacturing processes are run autonomously through computer programming. The goal of manufacturing system automation is to minimize the amount of human assistance needed in the manufacturing process. These systems provide constant feedback loops and adjust controlling parameteres in response to feedback from PLCs and Smart Sensors installed on machinery. Sensors are commonly embedded in new equipment or can be installed on legacy equipment. Automation has been achieved by various means including mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, electronic devices and computers, usually in combination. The benefit of automation includes a reduction of costs related to labor, electricity, water, gas, and scrap, as well as improvements to quality, accuracy, and precision. Manufacturing system automation can also reduce changeovertimes, thereby enabling small batch size production and mass customization.
  • *This is an IIC testbed currently in progress.*

    TE Connectivity, SAP SE

    ifm, OPC Foundation

    Discrete manufacturing

    This testbed implements an alternative solution by substituting IO-modules that connect the sensors with the real-time automation system by a gateway that extracts the sensor data and transfers them to the IT system through an additional communication channel via OPC UA (IEC 62541). This “Y-Gateway” re-uses existing physical connectivity and supports the easy integration of an IO-Link sensor with the IT by using a common device model based on an open standard (the IO Device Description which is based on ISO 15745-1) and thus enables the remote configuration of the sensor. This common device model is implemented through Manufacturing Data Objects in SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII).

    This testbed is essentially about implementing a sensor’s virtual representation at platform tier level by

    1. A hardware component that establishes a separate OT/IT communication to deliver sensor data to the IT systems and to receive configuration data.
    2. The implementation of a common device model based on an open standard that enables the control and manipulation of the physical device from within the IT systems.

    This testbed uses open standards for the OT/IT communication, the sensor devices and the common device model:

    • IO-Link is standardized as IEC 61131-9:2013 Programmable controllers - Part 9: Single-drop digital communication interface for small sensors and actuators (SDCI).
    • OPC UA is standardized within the IEC 62541 OPC Unified Architecture series.
    • The IO Device Description (IODD) is based on ISO 15745-1:2003 Industrial automation systems and integration – Open systems application integration framework – Part 1: Generic reference description

    As IO-Link is also based on the IODD, there is a consistent device description from the IT to the sensor level – supported through the semantics-independent data transfer provided by OPC UA – that allows for the easy configuration of a sensor and the interoperability with a large range of devices and analytic services.
  • Emerging (technology has been on the market for > 2 years)
  • Impact #1
    [Cost Reduction - Installation]
    Retrofit-able hardware solution reduces the costs of the physical installation.
    Impact #2
    [Efficiency Improvement - Integration]
    Definition and implementation of common device model enables the easy integration with IT systems.
    Impact #3
    [Data Management - Real Time Data]
    Easy access to a high volume of near real-time data enables the improvement of current analytics and the development of innovative applications
  • Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)
    The Industrial Internet Consortium is the open membership, international not-for-profit consortium that is setting the architectural framework and direction for the Industrial Internet. Founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel in March 2014, the consortium’s mission is to coordinate vast ecosystem initiatives to connect and integrate objects with people, processes and data using common architectures, Interoperability and open standards.
    SAP is the leading provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software used to integrate back-office functions such as distribution, accounting, human resources, and manufacturing. The backbone of SAP's products has been its On-Premise offerings, spearheaded by its Business Suite, which includes ERP and customer relationship management (CRM) software, among others. Year founded: 1972 Revenue: $17.6 billion (2014) NYSE: SAP
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