19 May 2022

How to realise productivity boosting IIoT applications


The foundations of the smart factories of the future are built on the ability to effectively share different types of data across the enterprise to enable flexible and agile operations. Smart Futures looks at how to realise productivity boosting Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications with TSN-compatible automation devices.

To realise these benefits, companies need a network infrastructure that lets all automation devices share data with high reliability and determinism. One way to achieve this is to leverage one of the latest advances in industrial communications, Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN). With an unparalleled offering of TSN-compatible drives and controls, Mitsubishi Electric helps customers futureproof machines, applications and entire plants.

Data-driven operations that generate actionable insights at all levels of the enterprise, from the shop floor to higher-level systems, rely on maximum convergence. To turn data into knowledge and share this to support effective decision making, it is necessary for all automation products to be able to reliably transmit and receive various types of data at high speed.

To address these essential requirements, all components should be able to send large volumes of time-critical data, e.g., for hard real-time control applications, as well as less transient communications, such as videos. Even more, they need to be able to support this while ensuring low jitter and latency to deliver deterministic performance. This is key to making sure that automated shop floor activities proceed as planned at all times, without unwanted interruptions.

Powering interconnectivity with TSN

Automation devices can be enabled to deliver these capabilities by supporting industrial Ethernet communications with TSN. Defined by the IEEE 802.1 standards, this innovative technology allows highly accurate synchronisation of all network nodes as well as traffic prioritisation. More precisely, TSN-compatible drives, controls and other devices can send both urgent and less critical traffic across network, with the former being prioritised in real-time in order to meet short cycle times.

Production machines, systems and other facilities enabled with TSN functionality can offer the next-level performance and reliability while maximising data availability and transparency, this is in line with smart manufacturing principles. As a result, companies can enhance their competitiveness by creating highly responsive facilities that can quickly adapt to market requirements. TSN also offers an unprecedented level of flexibility, as devices can be installed to align with various network configurations and topologies.

Choosing your automation components

With the opportunities to improve productivity that TSN can unlock and its role in realising the factories of the future, this innovation is quickly gaining in importance. To help companies leverage it now, Mitsubishi Electric has highlighted that it offers a comprehensive product portfolio that incorporates CC-Link IE TSN open industrial network technology. The company says it has the largest range of TSN-compatible automation devices currently available, and can deliver solutions to boost the performance of a wide range of applications.

An example of an interconnected automated setup leveraging Mitsubishi Electric’s TSN-compatible devices was demonstrated at Drives & Controls 2022. Visitors to the company’s stand could experience a live demo that included an iQ-R series PLC, remote I/Os, MR-J5 servos, FR-A800 variable speed drives and motors. The setup was visualised using a GOT 2000 HMI connected to a CC-Link IE TSN network to deliver high-speed control.

Company info: Mitsubishi Electric