protocols. The development was guided in part by the white paper distributed at the 2015 SPS/IPC/Drives fair, which outlined feedback of end-users whose requests drove the cooperation.
Promoting transparency and ease of integration is one of the primary goals for achieving concepts such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Many end-users will source production machinery from across the world, resulting in machines at the same plant that communicate via differing protocols. This can lead to increased engineering work to achieve integration, as users are combining heterogeneous architectures that may not necessarily communicate as standard. End-users of both networks flagged these challenges to the CC-Link Partners Association (CLPA) and PROFIBUS and PROFINET International (PI), which reacted quickly via to find solutions.
CC-Link IE is an acknowledged technology leader in the Asian market, while PROFINET is prevalent in Europe. Therefore, the new specification will simplify integration and increase freedom of choice for end-users who source production machinery globally. After less than a year of work, the specification will be made available to members of both organizations, which will enable them to develop hardware products to support the new initiative.
The specification centers on the functionality of a ‘coupler’ device, which enables transparent communication between CC-Link IE and PROFINET. As a result, both networks can seamlessly share information, which enables communication between differing parts of a line on separate networks, boosting transparency and integration.
The CLPA and PI expect to see the first supported products coming to market in 2017, with some partners already showing enthusiasm for the new collaboration. In short, the original concerns of end-users (which sparked this collaboration) will have been addressed in less than two years, displaying both organizations’ commitment to addressing users’ needs.
“We are delighted to offer our users direct solutions to their requirements, in conjunction with the CLPA, whose aims are synchronous with our own,” said Karsten Schneider, chairman of PI.
“The CLPA is pleased to be working with PI and our partners to offer support to end users who need this interoperability,” added Naomi Nakamura, global director of the CLPA. “The cooperation between CLPA and PI will directly help to make concepts such as Industry 4.0 a reality. Increased openness and accessibility is what our end users demanded, so we are pleased to be able to support them fully with this new specification.”