Drives and Controls Magazine
TSN controller will help to rewrite system design
Published:  09 August, 2016

NI, Cisco and Intel are collaborating to develop synchronisation and communications technologies that will allow distributed systems to use standard Ethernet to perform synchronised I/O, code execution and deterministic communication for distributed control and measurement loops.

As part of this work, NI has announced a technology platform for Time Sensitive Networking. TSN provides mechanisms to create distributed, synchronised, hard real-time systems over standard Ethernet. These systems use the same infrastructure to deliver real-time control and to communicate standard IT data, thus helping to bring together control, measurement, configuration, UI and file exchange infrastructure.

TSN is expected to rewrite the way systems are designed and maintained by converging IT and operational networks, while offering secure control traffic and high performance.

NI’s early-access technology platform is based on new CompactRIO controllers incorporating Intel’s i210 TSN-enabled Ethernet controller. They use NI’s LabView software to maintain synchronised time with the network and to make that time available to code running on the real-time processor, and on the FPGA.

The Industrial Internet Consortium is using the new platform in its TSN Testbed for smart manufacturing. Other users include:

•  the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering of Aachen University, which is using it to develop next-generation CNC machining;

NI's TSN technology platform. The company says that TSN will rewrite system design through the convergence of IT and operational networks

•  EUV Tech, which is using it for novel semiconductor processing machines; and

•  the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US, which is using it to demonstrate how TSN can enable microgrid coordination and control to boost the resiliency of future electrical grids.

NI has set up a TSN community where users they can find information on hardware and software, view example code and documentation, and obtain details on products from NI and others needed to create deployable TSN systems.