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Future Electronics


Martin Schiel
EMEA Vertical Segment Manager, Industrial Automation
Future Electronics EMEA


One of the key ingredients of Industry 4.0 systems is communication between devices. Previous issues of FTM have covered the topics of wireless communication and security and encryption. Much of the technology shown previously is useful in industrial networks, but it is fair to say that the communications requirements of industrial equipment are somewhat specialized.

Today there are a number of ways of connecting sensors and actuators to a gateway, remote I/O module or I/O section of a PLC Level 1. The trend points towards IO-Link being used to replace traditional 4-20mA interfaces.

In the middle layer, network protocols such as Profibus, Modbus, DeviceNet and CAN are being used to connect the device-level interfaces above to switches, gateways, PLC Level 2 and human-machine interface devices.

On top of this in the control network, industrial Ethernet systems provide for real-time communications requirements – protocols such as DeviceNet, PROFINET, EtherCAT and Powerlink to link the middle layer to servers, routers, switches or PCs.

Here we see a strong trend to connect these Operational Technology (OT) networks with enterprise IT networks. This is driving consolidation in the form of Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN), which is specified by the IEEE 802.1 standard. TSN offers added determinism, shorter worst-case delays, improved network robustness and better scalability.

The integration of industrial Ethernet capability calls for the use of robust Ethernet switches. The WAGO series of multi-port switches featured on p16 is an ideal choice for industrial communications designs.

Add power supply, sensor, actuator and control elements to the communication function and you have the main ingredients for a robot. More and more development of industrial robots is taking place: any FTM reader involved in robot design will benefit from a study of the ON Semiconductor Design Note on autonomous robots on pages 8-9.

Motor systems are another important element of much industrial equipment. Infineon’s XMC4700 series of microcontrollers are intended for use in this and in other industrial applications, since they include the digital-signal processing and floating-point unit capabilities that motor-control systems require, as featured on page 12.

For technical support in using these or any other components featured in FTM1810, please get in touch with your nearest, or call 1.800.FUTURE.1 for help.

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