Digitization is stepping into new age with industrial networks

12 September 20224 min reading

The digitalization journey, which allows the implementation of Industry 4.0 practices, means much more than automation of the production lines. Real-time results estimation and operations optimization require precise digital models of physical assets and processes. At this point, state-of-the-art industrial networks that provide closed-loop control by connecting physical production lines to their digital twins play a critical role in a successful transition to cyber-physical systems that offer the opportunity to be ready for the future beyond the traditional understanding of automation. Industrial networks are the decisive actors in the digital transformation that we encounter in every layer of life from industry to production. To talk about digitalization that is in line with global standards, communication protocols must be a part of the value chain.

Tolga Bizel 
Turkey Manager 
CC-Link Partner Association

Digitalization, which spreads to every layer of life, creates its own rules and methods while changing and shaping different disciplines. When digital transformation is considered from the perspective of Industry 4.0; big data analysis, smart sensor technologies, digital twin systems and robotic technologies lie at the heart of the business. Industrial networks encourage the mechanism in which all these dynamics take place. Industrial communication is a fundamental element in digitalization. The points to be considered during the selection decision are important.

In addition to digitalization connecting the physical and online worlds, a lot of work fall upon industrial networks. The number of companies developing digital models that adapt to the assets, machines, systems and processes used in the production line is increasing day by day. The created virtual twins serve as a unique tool to create a simulation of the real production line, such as control and product lifecycle management (PLM) or the interactions between components and component wear rate and failures. In both cases, digitalization provides access to meaningful and applicable information in production operations, providing manufacturers with the opportunity to create effective and efficient factory management and a transparent system. Therefore, while digital models do not have to be directly connected to their physical twins to support production, the real-time feedback loop between these two worlds is a major contributor to the creation of smart and flexible factories.

It is possible to check whether processes in the production line match the model predictions, with a simple process like having the physical and virtual worlds communicate with each other. Manufacturers need to make a careful assessment to find suitable industrial network technologies within the scope of their digitalization strategy toward Industry 4.0. At this stage, we, as CLPA, an expert organization in its field, support the growth of manufacturers by meeting their ever-changing needs in industrial automation with both our experience and our products. Most importantly, we provide them with the latest technology solutions. For many years already, we have been supporting companies in their journey from industrial communication to Ethernet and now towards the future technology Time Sensitive Network (TSN). 

Our latest open technology, CC-Link IE TSN, on the other hand, combines innovative Time Sensitive Network (TSN) technology with gigabit Ethernet to process high volumes of data generated by sensors and models in cyber-physical systems. These two key elements offer businesses an opportunity to transition from existing automation solutions to the technology of the future. Consequently, such a network allows manufacturers to prepare for the future and help them run their current processes with maximum compatibility.

CLPA (CC-Link Partner Association) is an open network support organization established in 2000 to support the extensive use of CC-Link. CC-Link IE, the main technology of CLPA, offers an ideal solution for Industry 4.0 practices thanks to its bandwidth as an open gigabit Ethernet in the automation field. Among CLPA's core areas of activity are the creation of CC-Link IE and CC-Link technical specifications and compliance testing, development support for devices and equipment using CC-Link, user support for device selection, and promotional efforts toward wider adoption of CC-Link. More than 30 million devices all over the world currently use CLPA technology.

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