Industrial Automation Show, China
The IAS Industrial Automation Show is an international trade fair for industrial automation technology, which takes place once a year in Shanghai. Since its inception, the event has become the industry barometer of China's automation market. The IAS Industrial Automation Show will take place on 5 days from Tuesday, 15. September to Saturday, 19. September 2020 in Shanghai. Meet our colleagues there at the AS-Interface booth and get informed personally about our new technology ASi-5. You will find us in hall 5.1H, booth B126.
Exhibitors are presenting, beside industrial automation, electrical systems, robotics and IT solutions, primarily in the fields of auto, papermaking, electricity power, rail transport, machine tool, new energy, building materials, metallurgy and mining, where performance enhancement is important and therefore offers the largest potential for automation.
The IAS Industrial Automation Show will be held in conjunction with the ES Energy Show and MWCS Metalworking and CNC Machine Tool Show. Together, the fairs generate a professional audience of more than 120,000 visitors and establish them as an important event in the exhibition landscape of China.
We look forward to see you in hall 5.1H, booth B126.
Let's talk about ASi
Industrial communication is one of the key technologies today. The amount of data needed in factory automation increases continuously – and as such the challenges for smart factories.
ASi-5 project managers Bernhard Wiedemann, CEO of Bihl+Wiedemann, and Dr. Thomas Sebastiany, Director Business Unit Systems at Pepperl+Fuchs, discuss ASi-5, the next generation AS-Interface, and its periphery, as well as trends in industrial communications.
The course has been set for the next level of digitalization: Let these two specialists enlighten you by talking about how AS-Interface provides efficient and flexible production on the device level. Find out what data paths will become increasingly more important.
Industrial communication is Industry 4.0’s backbone. How does the manufacturing industry react to the increasing request for networks in the digital world, and what are the advantages of ASi-5 compared to Ethernet and wireless technologies?
Dr. Thomas Sebastiany: “Strictly speaking, industrial communication has been around for many decades, and digitalization just increased its consistency. Proprietary communication systems are a thing of the past, and open systems made the cut. Today, instead of defining their own niche, industrial network systems are dedicated to standardization and harmonization – the absolute win-win situation for manufacturers and users alike.”
Bernhard Wiedemann: “As enticing as Ethernet for sensors and wireless technologies are, managing large amounts of IP-addresses and the risk of manipulations, for instance, through trojans or other malware are important factors. It is easier to bridge distances with wireless technology than with a wired solution, as long as it works reliably and is resistant to environmental influences. In general, its use is most advantageous where mobility is essential, for instance, in mobile scanners or forklifts. For many other applications, AS-Interface – especially from an electro-mechanics point of view– offers superb alternatives.”
Worldwide, almost 40 million ASi nodes are installed in the field. If you look ahead – will industrial communication change with AS-Interface?
TS: “ASi-5’s increased bandwidth and speed will allow the integration of additional applications that up to this point where not possible with ASi-3. Therefore, I predict that the number of ASi nodes will continue to rapidly increase for both versions. I don’t see ASi-3 being eaten up by ASi-5 since both systems exist in their own right and will continue to do so independently from each other or combined. Over the next few years, I foresee a tremendous growth potential especially in combination with IO-Link.”
B.W.: “In my opinion, ASi-5 has evolved to be THE feeder system to Ethernet-based fieldbuses because now the data from intelligent devices in the field– even if they are widely scattered throughout the system – can be collected and transferred easily, cost-effectively and efficiently. The elaborate process to install Ethernet directly into the machine is unnecessary due to ASi-5’s large data width and high speed.”
T.S.: “In this context, it is important to know that the perfect downward compatibility of ASi-5 offers all the advantages of the classic, well-established ASi network.”
B.W.: “Therefore, existing systems can continue to be used as long as required. Additionally, wherever new ASi-5 components should be inserted, this can easily be achieved: by simply replacing the existing master through an ASi-5/ASi-3 fieldbus gateway, and then inserting the new components wherever they are needed.
Let’s talk about the data exchange with Ethernet, TSN and OPC UA – How do you rate the importance of AS-Interface in this environment, and what synergetic approaches do you see for the smart data shuttle?
B.W.: “Looking at the TCP/IP connection to higher-level systems, ASi-5/ASi-3 gateways are the first Ethernet node looking at sensor and actuator technology. Even here, ASi is an entirely open system since all common Ethernet-based fieldbuses can be connected. An OPC UA interface implemented into the gateway provides the option for Industry 4.0 applications. Should TSN be required for AS-Interface, it can also be implemented without greater efforts.”
T.S.: “TSN provides real-time properties to the system without requiring special hardware. Therefore, the use of Ethernet systems becomes even easier. Additionally, the OPC-UA protocol enables the use of a communication channel that basically bypasses the PLC, and therefore simplifies monitoring the system states. In the near future, it will be possible to control systems through OPC-UA, even from the cloud. However, these promising approaches still require an inexpensive data collector that should be easy to install. This is where ASi-5’s combined with ASi3’s strengths lie.”
On the sensor-actuator-level, AS-Interface and IO-Link work hand-in-hand: How do the two systems fit together? What are the advantages for the user?
B.W.: “IO-Link is already established as a local interface for intelligent sensors and actuators. However, the integration of this point-to-point connection in common fieldbus environment often comes with limited network lengths, extensive wiring requirements and expensive Ethernet field modules. This is exactly where ASI-5 shines as the ideal feeder for the digitalized smart factory.”
T.S.: “Anywhere where intelligent IO-Link data is concentrated, ASi-5’s installation technology combined with IO-Link/ASi-5 gateways offers very effective solutions. Here, IO-Link can integrate intelligent sensor and actuator technology. Then, AS-Interface’ yellow flat cable takes over as efficient feeder for the next level, while maintaining access to the sensor continuously and transparently.”
B.W.: “I need to mention that ASi-5 solutions are often significantly less expensive than comparable solutions with PROFINET, for instance. The reasons are the lower module costs for ASi-5 components and the possibility to insert even a single IO-Link device exactly where it is needed. Additionally, the user saves on wiring efforts, switches, and installation of Ethernet cables.
One last question: From the user’s perspective, what is ASi-5’s most important criterium?
T.S.: “Easily the non-negotiable requirement of downward compatibility to ASi-3. It has been the greatest obstacle during the specification of ASi-5. This aspect offers the user even more powerful solutions.”
B.W.: “Additional to the downwards compatibility already mentioned, the users can expect applications that could not be implemented into ASi up until now, for instance in combination with IO-Link.”
The best of two worlds: ASi-5 and IO-Link
ASi-5 as a wiring system and IO-Link’s point-to-point communication is the ideal combination on the field level. No surprise, from the beginning on, the integration of intelligent devices was the main focus of developing the new AS-Interface generation...
ASi-5’s extensive data width and short cycle times open up enormous potentials for digital transformation in machine and plan engineering. Intelligent devices, such as IO-Link devices, can easily be integrated into the network. Early on, the ASi-5 developers specified profiles that allow the cyclic transmission of up to 32 bytes of I/O data. These profiles can already be implemented – by using ASi-5/ASi-3 fieldbus gateways and ASi-5 slave/IO-Link master modules from Bihl+Wiedemann.
In contrast to common structures in which IO-Link masters have to be connected to the control system either individually or via switches using an Ethernet-based fieldbus - a complex process -, IO-Link signals can now be collected considerably more elegantly and efficiently with ASi-5. Proven AS-Interface advantages remain the same, such as the drastically reduced wiring effort compared to fieldbus solutions, the easy connectivity of the yellow ASi cable by using piercing technology, the free choice of topology, the flexibility in connecting to any common control system, and the cost-effective integration of safety on the same infrastructure. In addition, the costly necessity to integrate Ethernet into the machine is omitted.
Improved connectivity increases the efficiency
Up until now, connecting – often even only one or two – IO-Link sensors required a 4- or 8-port IO-Link master with an Ethernet connector for each sensor. Now, a single Ethernet interface in the ASi-5/ASi-3 gateway by Bihl+Wiedemann can connect all users on the ASi network to the control system. Therefore, the operator can connect a multitude of IO-Link masters on the 200 m maximum network length per ASi network. ASi-5 slaves with integrated IO-Link master ports, currently offered as 1-port, 2-port and 4-port versions by Bihl+Wiedemann, are connected by simply piercing the ASi cable and linked to the gateway where they are needed.
As always, IO-Link devices are connected to the respective master port via M12-connectors with a maximum cable length of 20 m. Consequently, ASi-5 is the economic solution to connect intelligent devices to the control system in a demand-oriented and cost-effective manner with minimum wiring and IP management effort.
Wiring Easy and Efficient
Need to quickly and flexibly install pushbutton boxes or panels into the AS-Interface system? Pepperl+Fuchs’ CB10-Modul offers ultra-compact connection, easily and quickly installed via push-in technology. Ideal for uses such as integrating non-AS-Interface pushbuttons on machines.
Installing mechanical pushbutton and control boxes, machine control systems, or connecting pushbuttons in panels are truly time-consuming during the construction of network systems. CB10 Modules, enabling easy and quick pre-wiring of the components, are the remedy. Due to the push-in connection technology, rigid conductors or those fitted with ferrules can be connected efficiently without tools.
Considering the entire process of wiring at the sensor-actuator level, swift assembly and installation of the components results in considerable cost advantages, easily justifying the use of CB10 modules. In addition, connection errors are minimized, and conversion of existing solutions becomes particularly easy.
Connectivity for AS-Interface…
… is a priority at Pepperl+Fuchs: In factory automation, the ASi connectivity portfolio offers a range of products in which sensor and connectivity technologies are optimally coordinated. Easy installation and configuration are the focus, like for instance the quick installation of mechanical pushbuttons. Using the compact CB10 module, users can integrate existing pushbutton boxes in the system. This pre-assembly saves time and money since the specifically assembled pushbutton box simply needs to be plugged into ASi. Integrated LED displays offer diagnostic functions, and uniquely colored wires ensure disruption-free installation.
The CB10-Modul …
… can easily be installed in the pushbutton box: It can be mounted inside the pushbutton box or behind the user panel using double-sided adhesive tape. The module offers the greatest possible flexibility since it can be connected directly via the prefabricated crimped wire ends. Overload protection, reverse polarity protection, communication monitoring, and suppression of interferences such as bouncing are included.
Push buttons can be connected without any restrictions. When using this versatile module, indicator fields or additional sensors can be activated without a separate AUX supply. Ultra-compact dimensions of 35x40 mm2 and 10 mm height with 200 mm direct link for inputs/outputs allow the operation of eight functional elements. The housing of the unit is robust and impact resistant due to the new hotmelt direct molding. Connecting ASi’s two-conductor cable to an M12 connector achieves a particularly efficient pre-assembled plug-and-play solution.
AS-Interface - the perfect brownfield bus
Comprehensive digitalization in industrial production is picking up speed. Everyone talks about terms like Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, Big Data or the Internet of Things...
The primary goal of the fourth industrial revolution is to optimize production processes, to minimize downtimes and to achieve an even more flexible production. The basic requirement is a sufficiently large data base containing extensive information concerning the production plant and the production process. Contrary to the greenfield method, a more theoretical image of an ideal factory network, the brownfield approach looks at reality, specifically how to make existing plants and factories suitable for i4.0. Here, AS-Interface offers decisive advantages.
A production hall somewhere in the world: a collection of different machines, technologies and interfaces. Over the years or even decades, everything was connected by a network of cables, pipelines and tubes. Production is running, and obvious production bottlenecks where recognized and fixed. However, now more information about the production is needed:
How much energy is required per produced unit?
What are the CO2 emissions during production?
To what extent are the production machines utilized?
What is the OEE of my production plant?
How can processes be further optimized to achieve better product quality?
How can maintenance intervals be optimized?
How can downtimes be minimized?
IO-Link – the key to Industry 4.0
The list of possible questions is extensive. However, in general, an additional number of data sources, i.e. sensors, is needed to collect all necessary machine and production data. If these sensors are able to communicate, all the better. This is where IO-Link comes into play because it provides readable process information instead of unscaled analog data. For example, 6.3 mA becomes 150 mbar or 57° C. In addition, the IO-Link sensor is not only limited to a single processor value but can supply several process values, depending on the type of sensor.
AS-Interface – economical and easy
But how can this sensor technology be implemented in the machines with minimal effort and without negatively affecting the production process? Ideally, the sensors would wirelessly transmit their data to the server. Unfortunately, the topic of providing energy to sensors is not entirely solved yet: Sensors need a power supply. However, since two line are needed to supply the sensors with power, why not use these lines to communicate with the sensors? Welcome in the world of AS-Interface.
AS-Interface impresses with its simplicity. A reverse polarity protected, two-conductor flat cable enables foolproof mounting of I/O modules into the system by using piercing technology. The piercing contacts of the I/O module pierce the flat cable to access the conductors. The I/O module is now connected to the ASi system, receives power and is able to communicate with the ASi master. A wide variety of different I/O modules ensures that almost any sensor signal can be processed, whether a digital switching signal, an analog value, or IO-Link data. The ASi flat cable has the impressive range of 600 m, and the user can freely choose the topology of the system. Larger distances of up to 3.2 km can be arranged through an optional fiber optics repeater. Whether flat cable or fiber optics, the system’s immunity to inference is unparalleled.
Intelligent ASi masters cyclically read the sensor information and can transmit all values of connected I/O modules via various interfaces and protocols, including i4.0-specific protocols like OPC-UA and REST-API. A targeted data preprocessing inside the ASi master is possible to reduce unnecessary large amounts of data, even in real-time applications like counters. Therefore, AS-Interface is technically and economically the perfect solution to retrofit sensor technology in existing production plants, creating a predictable and controllable brownfield project.
German video "Einfacher digitalisieren mit ASi-5"
The new ASi-5 technology allows continuous digitization and expands the application of AS-Interface in automation. With the possibilities of the new technology, the system gives the machines a digital voice. Learn more in the latest german video: youtu.be/wqZJXEyUXNE
The system extends functionality and reduces costs.
Controling valves intelligently with AS-Interface
Intelligent process automation is the buzzword for keeping the process industry competitive and future-proof. One example is the compact combi switchbox with integrated pilot valve GEMU 4242 that communicates with the control system via AS-Interface.
This results in externally controlled linear drives in processing plants that propel digitalization. Reducing machine downtimes and making better use of capacities: In intelligent process automation, plant operators take a holistic approach to the control levels as well as to innovative components and fittings on the field level. In this context, the valve specialist GEMU offers high-quality valve control systems with AS-Interface which support a successful automation.
Valve actuation as system-oriented solution
The GEMU combi switchbox 4242, suited for mounting on pneumatically operated linear drives, follows the trend towards decentralized plant intelligence. The valve stem position is reliably detected electronically by a backlash-free and force-locked adaptation – including evaluation. Integrated pilot valves allow direct control of the connected process valve. Intelligent microprocessor-controlled functions facilitate commissioning and support operation. The current position of the valve is indicated using far-reaching LEDs and reported back via electronic signals. Compared to external versions for larger installation spaces, this solution offers functional as well as cost-related advantages like fast response times or reduced compressed air consumption.
System-oriented functionality requires appropriate data transfer
Plant operators prefer safe bus systems like AS-Interface. As production processes become more automized, safe, fast, and economic connection options are of particular importance. From GEMU’s point of view, one of the most important advantages of AS-Interface is the master’s ability to address and reply to up to 62 slaves (actuators/sensors) via a single port. Another crucial aspect is the easy wiring that significantly reduces errors. The following AS-Interface profiles are available: 24 V, AS-Interface or DeviceNet versions as well as a version with an IO-Link interface.
Especially because the connection system is established in different areas of process automation and thus guarantees functional safety in process automation, the combination of a component, like for instance the combi switchbox, and AS-Interface implements the customer-specific requirements on the automation concept, and therefore complies with the need for more digitalization and networking.
More information: www.gemu-group.com
So be it with thee, if forever united in yellow
The innuendo to Schiller’s Lay of the Bell is befitting for the commitment of HTWK Leipzigs’ testing laboratory (HTWK - University of Technology, Economics and Culture in Leipzig). Ever since the ASi system’s early stages in the 1990s, this lab has been at ASi’s side for development and testing.
Functional safely, including human errors when connecting ASi, are the stories told by Prof. Tilo Heimbold and his team. As enthusiastic as Friedrich Schiller was about the connection between a handcrafted bell casting and the human life, the testing lab of the HTWK Leipzig shows its passion to test connections to the AS-Interface system. As of today, about 2,500 test runs and inspections of connectable components such as power supplies, masters, slaves, system ASICs, repeaters and ground fault detectors were performed, ensuring the system’s functional safety from the user’s perspective. In addition to inspections and tests related to the development project, the examinations of all electronic ASi components attached to the bus as the basis of a certification through the AS-International Association is planned to start in 2020.
ASi-5 tested and deemed fit for usage
By now, the testing lab and the team of Prof. Tilo Heimbold are positioned as the development partner of AS-Interface. Inspection and test data, for example on measurement parameters like bus impedance, symmetry to ground potential, and EMC tests (BURST behavior) with error rate measurement, are valuable results for new developments such as the ASi-5 system and are incorporated into the its implementation. The spectrum extends up to a complete inspection of all bus-related physical and logical characteristics according to the requirements of the system specification and IEC/EN62026-2. The focus is on the system’s ASIC as main component of slaves, repeaters and the manufacture-dependent masters.
Higher data throughput with AS-Interface
In the times of digitalization, the request for more data communications is raising, and the classic ASi system needed new functions for future-proof topologies with cloud structure. In cooperation with the HTWK Leipzig’s testing lab, a point-to-multiple-points multiple-step concept had to be developed that retained AS-Interface’s commonly known advantage in a master-slave topology. In developing AS-5 by changing the data transmission procedure, the Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIoT) potentials that promise extensive diagnostics including additional field data as well as faster system cycles are taken into account. Even though currently, many sensors and actuators operate on a relatively small data width, AS-Interface’s new upgrade keeps network costs for setup and components low without losing flexibility and modularity at any point.
ASi’s upward and downward compatibility
From the user’s point of view, it is important to ensure in the test lab that if both ASi-3 and ASi-5 components are included in one topology, I/O data communications are guaranteed. The absolute continuity of ASi components – for either upwards or downwards compatibility – is always maintained at the sensor/actuator level. The absolute zero-error transparency, proven by HTWK through various test setups, is decisive for a reliable data transmission. In the lab, measurements on four identified worst-case topologies guarantee functionality of typical, critical system topologies of sensors and actuators connected to the master.
At the same time, meticulous function tests opened up the data-technological advantages of ASi-5 to the lab’s specialists. Different from ASi-3, the system management with error diagnostics now also runs parallel to I/O data communications. When adding I/O-Link as a slave, condition monitoring functions become available. Through the performance gain when adding the new chip, AS-Interface becomes an IIoT data feeder at the lowest level of automation – exactly where increasing requests for decentral intelligence in plants and machines are directed.
All in all…
… functional safety in industrial communications in existing plants can be seen as a retro process, to be permanently optimized and designed to be more efficient through digitalization. Data management and the associated industrial communications in automation is subject to constant change – either analog or digital. AS-Interface supports the users’ need in terms of real-time communications, linking to IO-Link devices, or the easy and cost-effective interconnection and wiring of sensors and actuators. HTWK’s testing lab puts everything to the test to guarantee functional safety of classic as well as cloud-based topologies with ASi-3 and/or ASi-5.
Optimistic for the future
Within the scope of digitization, the clear goal was formulated to integrate operating devices with AS-Interface even more easily. Johan Persson, CEO of Celpia: "We have made a very successful start with the Cabinet Modules product line. We make things simpler, safer and better. Users can look forward to a wide range of product developments.
The new ASiMAG, new products and more
The new german AS-Interface magazine is published. The issue contains product innovations, information about ASi-5 and new AS-Interface manufacturers.
The cancellation of the Hannover Fair due to the Corona Pandemic was not known at the time of going to press. Please ignore the information about the July date in the magazine.