IIoT: Connecting industrial intelligence

Industrial internet can help operations and production be intelligent, high-efficiency, and flexible. Industrial network cybersecurity can help protect the industrial control system (ICS). Tools are available to enhance interoperability of real-time data transmission.

By Aileen Jin, Control Engineering China August 1, 2018

Global technical trends and the best application approaches for industrial internet were among topics at the 4th China Industrial Internet Conference (CIIC), June 6, sponsored by Control Engineering China. The event, at the Wuhan International Conference Center, gave direction for industrial users about in-depth applications of industrial internet technology and how to realize more intelligent, high-efficiency, and flexible operations and production. The theme was: "Connect industrial intelligence; find out the value of interconnection."

Industrial internet development

At the conference, Jiang Xinhao, senior engineer of China Information Communication Research Institute Informatization and Industrialization Integration Institute, said the industrial internet is the key network infrastructure that can meet the demand for industrial intelligence, with low time delay, high reliability, and extensive coverage.

Jiang Xinhao said this emerging business and applications are formed through deep integration of a new generation of information communication technology and advanced manufacturing industry. Industrial internet is divided into three systems.

1. The network system is the foundation.

2. The platform system is the core.

3. The safety system is the guarantee.

Wang Bing, manager of the competitiveness center, the intelligent manufacturing business department, Schneider Electric industry business department, pointed out Chinese manufacturing enterprises are confronted with difficult situations and challenges including excess production capacity, rather high energy costs, serious homogeneous competition, very slow market response speed, and others.

At present, China is a market where crises and opportunities coexist. In the next five years, China’s manufacturing industry is projected to average 25% growth; in 2025, the expected output value of the intelligent manufacturing industry will reach 3 trillion Yuan ($448.28 billion).

The 4th industrial revolution uses transparent intelligence throughout production and manufacturing, from sensor to big data, to realize data management and services from the equipment level, control level, operation level, and enterprise level.

Focus: Industrial network safety

Industrial network safety can help protect the industrial control system (ICS), according to Zhang Hanyi, the manager of the application engineering team of Belden Hirschmann APAC. He said the frequency and focus of network ICS attacks has "continuously increased, and its complexity is also continuously improved." A great deal of relevant ICS knowledge is available on the internet.

Zhang Hanyi stressed insiders may attack more easily than external specialized hackers. The greatest threat comes from incorrect human operations or equipment failure. Focus should extend beyond hackers to mean time between failures and factory reliability. It’s not enough to deploy a fireproof wall at the boundary of network; zones of protection are required for deeper protection. He said network safety is a journey; not a destination.

Data is the basis of everything

Deputy manager of Beijing NE-net Technology Co. Ltd., Chen Qiang, said, "Only the combination of intelligent factory and industrial internet can realize intelligent manufacturing; in this process, data collection is the basis for everything." Data modeling is the core of data processing to ensure data time-stamping in context. Consider a flexible topological structure, Ethernet bus technology, time synchronization and distribution methods, and dual-channel technology for greater data collection effectiveness.


Zhou Shenyang, expert in the Industrial Internet of Things Group of B&R Automation (China) Co. Ltd., said, "Enterprises should put efficiency first to realize intelligent manufacturing. End users need to carry out predictive asset management; production simulation; minimize operation risk; maximize asset utilization ratio; minimize unplanned crash; improve the manufacturing, planning and debugging of new factories; and adjust production according to customer demands."

Because of different media, bus technology protocols, and different application layers of Ethernet technology, there is no way to realize interoperability of bus technology and transmission of cyclical and non-cyclical data in one channel among Ethernet protocols. This challenges real-time internet connections. Using OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) with IEEE TSN (Time Sensitive Network) can solve that challenge. Combing both can make cyclical data transmission and non-temporal harsh data available for transmission in the same physical layer. Since modern production line networks increasingly depend on a gigabit network or higher, this combination resolves network bandwidth bottlenecks (including conventional fieldbus and megabit Ethernet).

Aileen Jin is editor-in-chief of Control Engineering China. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.