Why open industrial networks are essential for Smart Factories

The Factory of the Future - taking into account Industry 4.0 - is loaded with sensors and devices that record real-time processes and statuses across the factory floor. A fast, efficient and reliable industrial network is key to successfully sharing and utilising the data being generated. The network architecture should be designed as an interconnected platform, able to link all the nodes together and provide both upstream and localised communication. John Browett, General Manager at CLPA Europe, explains why open industrial networks are fundamental components of the Smart Factory.

As envisioned by Industry 4.0, the interconnected factory has the potential to revolutionise manufacturing by demanding greater interconnectivity and control over the different factory processes. In this way, companies in any sector can boost productivity and efficiency whilst improving product quality and consistency.

The adoption of Industry 4.0 is much more than a simple plus for general operating efficiency, as it marks the transition to new manufacturing processes that are synchronous with customer demand. Now, during the fourth industrial revolution, the implementation of automation and network technologies is essential for businesses to remain competitive.

While Industry 4.0 is likely unavoidable, its adoption could be onerous for many companies. In real, practical terms, the development and implementation of a suitable digital strategy is a marathon, rather than a sprint. It is tempting to reengineer the whole enterprise at once, but this would be overwhelming, compromising the entire digitalisation process.

After having defined a suitable digital strategy, its implementation should take place in stages. It is generally helpful to proceed with small projects that have a clearly defined end-goal that are relatively easy to complete and manage. In this way, the success of each automation project can be measured, and their realisation helps to develop a controllable and scalable system that can adapt to future needs.

The rise of big data is inextricably linked to networking speed and data-carrying capacity, hence any system needs to have a high capacity. Of the current Ethernet variants, CC-Link IE stands out as the only open gigabit industrial Ethernet currently available. It is a good example of why choosing technologies that already offer an advantage, as well as a clear path toward to future developments, can be beneficial.

Digital strategies need to consider interconnectivity

This step-by-step approach results in the installation and upgrade at different times of factory equipment, whose vendors, technologies and protocols can vary. Therefore, it is important to make sure that any new component is compatible and can communicate with the existing ones.

This may be trickier than expected. Many current products have closed, proprietary standards and protocols that let them exchange data only with products from the same vendor. Choosing a single hardware vendor is not always a feasible alternative, though, as users may need to "mix and match" different offerings to select the most suitable tools for their intended applications. In addition, businesses on their long journey to Industry 4.0 may face changes in the hardware market and its key players.

While this can cause frustration among manufacturers, not all is lost. Open Ethernet, which is not locked to a specific vendor system, can provide a framework that not only allows the connection of current automation products, but also features a built-in flexibility for future factory revamps, installations and upgrades. Therefore, open Ethernet actively supports innovation.

On the flip-side of proprietary systems, where hardware and software are tightly coupled together, open Ethernet is based on the complete independence between hardware and software. This ensures a hardware application can run on any Ethernet software platform.

Organisations such as the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) are helping businesses to become highly connected by developing open networks, thus facilitating multi-vendor and multi-platform interoperability. The CC-Link family of network solutions developed by the CLPA features compatibility from over 300 manufacturers, making a huge catalogue of certified, interoperable products. This broad range of options allows end users and factories to select the component that best fits their needs.

Furthermore, the CC-Link family realises seamless transfer of data between communication layers within an enterprise, from shop floor to top floor. More precisely, CC-Link IE Field embraces all the requirements of general machine control, motion control and safety for the factory floor, while CC-Link IE Control is designed for higher level communication, such as directly between controllers in different production cells.

Action plan for a more open Ethernet

Providing an interoperable environment is a constant work-in-progress activity and the CLPA's continuous effort to provide open industrial networks is reflected by its collaborations. For example, the organisation has produced the specification for a coupler with PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI). This device allows CC-Link IE and PROFINET networks, and their respective machines to be freely interoperable. Similarly, the CLPA has also developed the CSP+ for Machine OPC UA Companion Specification with the OPC Foundation, allowing for unification of the interfaces between machines and IT systems.

In this way, the CLPA, OPC Foundation and PI are collaborating on the network of the future, which will ensure openness and interoperability from an intuitive and easy to use platform. Learn more at www.clpa-europe.com.

CC-Link Partner Association - Europe (CLPA)

Gothaer Strasse 8
40880 Ratingen
GERMANY

+44 (0)7768 338708

partners@clpa-europe.com

www.clpa-europe.com

More from CC-Link Partner Association - Europe (CLPA)

Time Sensitive Networking – what’s in it for machine builders?

Posted 3 months ago

CLPA creates Global Strategic Advisor role for Smart Factories

Posted 9 months ago

Benefits of TSN discussed at ARC Industry Forum Europe 2019

Posted 1 year ago

CLPA to show Ethernet innovation at SPS IPC Drives Italia 2019

Posted 1 year ago

CC-Link IE TSN attracts attention at Hannover Messe

Posted 1 year ago

Why is 100Mbit industrial Ethernet insufficient for Industry4.0?

Posted 1 year ago

CC-Link IE TSN: the next-generation Ethernet-based network

Posted 2 years ago

Factory networks take a big step forward at SPS 2018

Posted 2 years ago

CC-Link IE is Mitsubishi's network of choice for Industry 4.0

Posted 2 years ago

Slip rings use CC-Link IE for gigabit data transfer

Posted 2 years ago

Coupler enables interoperability between CC-Link IE and Profinet

Posted 2 years ago

CLPA highlights growth of CC-Link IE development options

Posted 3 years ago

CLPA OPC UA companion specification for CSP+ for Machine

Posted 3 years ago

Is Gigabit Industrial Ethernet key for Industry 4.0 goals?

Posted 3 years ago

Working group: security for open industrial automation networks

Posted 3 years ago

Hilscher plans first "˜coupler' between CC-Link IE and PROFINET

Posted 3 years ago

Benefits of open gigabit Ethernet illustrated at ARC Forum

Posted 3 years ago

Integrated factory automation networks key to Industry 4.0

Posted 3 years ago

CC-Link Partner Association at SPS Italia 2017

Posted 3 years ago

Implementing Ethernet at the field device level

Posted 3 years ago

Working with multiple networks and growth in Asia

Posted 3 years ago

CLPA webinar shows benefits of open gigabit industrial Ethernet

Posted 3 years ago

Weidmüller develops CC-Link IE products to drive Industry 4.0

Posted 4 years ago

New CC-Link IE and Profinet interoperability specification

Posted 4 years ago

CLPA brings networking accessibility to SPS/IPC/Drives 2016

Posted 4 years ago

CLPA helps cable manufacture expand into Asian markets

Posted 4 years ago

Balluff I/O blocks enable quicker CC-Link IE network building

Posted 4 years ago

CC-Link IE and CC-Link adoption soars

Posted 4 years ago

Production machines and automation products for the Asian market

Posted 4 years ago

PROFINET and CC-Link IE cooperation will expand open networks

Posted 4 years ago

Twelve things you need to know about CC-Link networks

Posted 4 years ago

CLPA to show CC-Link IE and CC-Link open at SPS Italia

Posted 4 years ago

Reports of fieldbuses' usage disappearing are premature

Posted 4 years ago

OPC Foundation and CLPA sign Memorandum of Understanding

Posted 4 years ago

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) opens office in Mexico

Posted 4 years ago

Lapp Group grows with CC-Link IE & CC-Link

Posted 4 years ago

White paper previews CC-Link IE and PROFINET interoperability

Posted 4 years ago

CC-Link IE - the natural choice for Industry 4.0

Posted 4 years ago

SLMP for integrating FAG SmartCheck into industrial automation

Posted 5 years ago

CC-Link keeps up with demand for water in Denmark

Posted 5 years ago

CC-Link Partner Association marks its 15th anniversary

Posted 5 years ago

Major Asian and European network collaboration announcement

Posted 5 years ago

Changes in the network security landscape

Posted 5 years ago

CC-Link IE and CC-Link set new record for global installed base

Posted 5 years ago

CC-Link Partner Association brings on Cisco as Board member

Posted 5 years ago

Global networking specialist acknowledges importance of CC-Link

Posted 5 years ago

Building chips for CC-Link IE is good for business at Renesas

Posted 5 years ago

SLMP for CC-Link IE: exploit open industrial Ethernet protocol

Posted 5 years ago

CC-Link IE wins IEC61158/IEC61784 certification

Posted 5 years ago

More development options for CC-Link, CC-Link IE device makers

Posted 5 years ago

One year on, the CLPA's Gateway to Asia is still wide open

Posted 5 years ago

Double link strengthens approach to Asian automation

Posted 5 years ago

The future of open automation networks - gigabit CC-Link IE

Posted 6 years ago

Molex becomes a CLPA board member

Posted 6 years ago

CC-Link opens up Asian markets for measurement specialist

Posted 6 years ago

CC-Link plans major board member announcement at SPS/IPC/Drives

Posted 6 years ago

Skydivers practise indoors with CC-Link industrial network

Posted 6 years ago

CC-Link gives Cognex a clear view of Asian opportunities

Posted 6 years ago

New CLPA Chair is world-renowned production engineer

Posted 6 years ago

CC-Link partner Festo is using nature to inspire automation

Posted 6 years ago

Conformance testing ensures clear open communications

Posted 6 years ago

Industrial Ethernet connects systems, improves energy efficiency

Posted 6 years ago

Safety networks: The route from zero accidents to zero risk

Posted 6 years ago

CLPA announces EUR10,000 support for CC-Link product developers

Posted 6 years ago

CC-Link opens actual Gateway to Asia with new Turkish branch

Posted 6 years ago

CLPA appoints first European member to Managing Board

Posted 7 years ago

Open industrial networking associations ASI and CLPA forge links

Posted 7 years ago

Industrial automation changes up a gear with CC Link

Posted 7 years ago

CC-Link seminar explores opportunities for growth in Asia

Posted 7 years ago

Berners joins CLPA to help companies export to China

Posted 7 years ago

CLPA unveils major developments at the SPS IPC Drives 2013 Fair

Posted 7 years ago

Car manufacturer sees benefits via use of CC-Link open networks

Posted 7 years ago

Multiple approvals enhance CC-Link's global acceptability

Posted 7 years ago

CC-Link membership booms as interest in open networks grows

Posted 7 years ago

Sensors and communications combine to improve production hygiene

Posted 7 years ago

CC-Link widens partner product development options

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link highlights industry solutions with key European partners

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link expands horizons with management board appointments

Posted 8 years ago

Learn more about CC-Link anytime, anywhere with a virtual booth

Posted 8 years ago

Indian sub-continent gets local support for CC-Link

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link adds energy management capabilities

Posted 8 years ago

CLPA shares open networks for success at the 2012 EMS Summit

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link helps Ford & Mazda stay flexible in China

Posted 8 years ago

Energy management and FPGA on show at SPS/IPC/Drives Fair

Posted 8 years ago

Free Gateway to China business kit on 4GB USB stick

Posted 8 years ago

Strengthening the CC-Link open network partnership

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link sponsors major European manufacturing summit

Posted 8 years ago

Gateway to China from the CLPA for potential new markets

Posted 8 years ago

White Paper explores strategies for entering the Chinese market

Posted 8 years ago

Starter kits make CC-Link adoption a simple step

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link IE Field Ethernet-based network gains motion control

Posted 8 years ago

CC-Link enhances productivity for flat-panel LCD plant

Posted 8 years ago

SIL 3 safety layer added to CC-Link IE Field Industrial Ethernet

Posted 8 years ago

CLPA celebrates 10th anniversary of CC-Link

Posted 9 years ago

CC-Link becomes 'The Non-Stop Open Network'

Posted 9 years ago

CLPA to promote FDT as an international standard

Posted 9 years ago

Mitsubishi opens CC-Link conformance test centre in Germany

Posted 9 years ago

Financial benefits of retrofitting open fieldbus networks

Posted 9 years ago

CC-Link to be incorporated within FDT protocol standard

Posted 9 years ago

Automation and robotics training centre features CC-Link

Posted 9 years ago

CC-link exceeds 1500 members and 8,500,000 devices

Posted 9 years ago

Open architecture control systems offer plant-wide benefits

Posted 9 years ago

CLPA-China celebrates ten years of CC-Link in China

Posted 9 years ago

Free webinar explains CC-Link 'Gateway to China' programme

Posted 9 years ago

'Gateway to China' programme to feature at SPS/IPC/Drives

Posted 9 years ago

CLPA offers three chances to win an iPad

Posted 9 years ago

'Gateway to China' movie helps companies enter Chinese market

Posted 9 years ago

CC-Link network supports automation of winemaking

Posted 9 years ago

John Browett named Acting General Manager of CLPA - Europe

Posted 9 years ago

CC-Link selected for biogas cogeneration plants

Posted 10 years ago

New Anybus-CC drive profile modules for CC-Link

Posted 10 years ago

Heavy-duty CC-Link I/O modules are sealed to IP67

Posted 10 years ago

CC-Link selected for crane upgrade project

Posted 10 years ago

CC-Link survives in harsh die casting environment

Posted 10 years ago

CC-Link helps maintain productivity and quality in pharma plant

Posted 10 years ago

CC-Link connects eleven Danish boreholes

Posted 12 years ago

CC-Link network expands to encompass entire factory

Posted 12 years ago

CC-Link connects conveyor inverters to PLC network

Posted 12 years ago

CC-Link helps to ensure reliability of pumping station

Posted 12 years ago

A guide to the CC-Link industrial fieldbus network

Posted 12 years ago

Integrator GB Innomech uses CC-Link for building control

Posted 12 years ago

CLPA offers assistance to UK OEMs selling into Asia

Posted 12 years ago

New version of CC-Link based on Industrial Ethernet

Posted 12 years ago

Using fieldbuses with multi-vendor automation systems

Posted 12 years ago

European applications for the CC-Link industrial fieldbus

Posted 13 years ago

New CLPA office supports use of CC-Link in Turkey

Posted 13 years ago

CC-Link adopted by Polish universities

Posted 13 years ago

CLPA to show CC-Link IE at SPS/IPC/Drives show

Posted 13 years ago

CC-Link partners launch new safety fieldbus, CC-Link Safety

Posted 13 years ago

CLPA sponsors European Manufacturing Strategies Summit

Posted 13 years ago

More technical articles
2 days ago
Boxing clever
A new chainflex cable box means big shipping cost savings for customers
2 days ago
New industrial vision online channel sees the light of day
Industrial vision provider IDS is making its expertise as a manufacturer of digital industrial cameras available free of charge and readily accessible on a new platform
2 days ago
Ball screws help protect buildings from earthquakes
Ball screws from NSK are helping to protect structures and people in earthquake zones
2 days ago
ATEX certification for new pneumatic valve island
Pneumatic process control offers numerous benefits, especially in hygienic applications. Bürkert says that its new Type 8652 AirLINE valve island provides users with improved safety features, communications and diagnostics
2 days ago
ABB launches condition-based maintenance service for robots
New service enables users to plan ahead and optimise production performance
2 days ago
What the UK-EU trade deal means for UK vehicle manufacturers
Now the UK has left the EU, the transition period has ended and the two parties have established a new trading relationship, UK-based vehicle manufacturers have some clarity over what they need to do to serve three key markets: Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), the EU and Northern Ireland
2 days ago
Farnell publishes Industry 4.0 ebook
New ‘Industry 4.0 Interviews’ ebook is available for free download from Farnell and showcases the opinions of leading global experts on the future of IIoT and Industry 4.0
2 days ago
Can DC motors be used at high temperatures?
There is no need for a heated discussion about it as maxon’s motor expert Andrew Gibson offers a view on the subject
3 days ago
Switching up a gear
Phoenix Contact is expanding its line of unmanaged switches
3 days ago
New Intertronics metering, mixing and dispensing system
Adhesives supplier Intertronics has introduced a new 2-K-DOS metering, mixing and dispensing system, said to be a compact, benchtop unit suitable for materials including silicones, polyurethanes and epoxies