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The drive to Industry 4.0

The drive to Industry 4.0

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), in association with the OPC Foundation, has announced an OPC UA companion specification for the CLPA’s new “CSP+ for Machine” technology to further ease the implementation of Industry 4.0 type applications. CSP+ for Machine is an extension of the CLPA’s existing CSP+ (Control & Communication System Profile) that provides easy network configuration and maintenance by offering profiles that describe each device on a CC-Link IE or CC-Link network.

CSP+ technology provides easy drag and drop network configuration from CSP+ files provided by CLPA partner vendors, allowing convenient device libraries to be created. This new announcement takes the technology one step further by essentially allowing whole machines to be treated in the same way, meaning that complex systems can now be dealt with as if they are a single device. Hence complexity will be significantly reduced, and the task of obtaining vital process data will be greatly simplified.

The CLPA has already established itself as a technology leader for Industry 4.0 applications with its CC-Link IE open gigabit Ethernet and CC-Link IE Field Basic, which extends CC-Link IE compatibility to 100Mbit Ethernet devices. CSP+4M continues this trend by simplifying the process of extracting data from factory systems via the industry standard open connectivity of OPC UA. CSP+ for Machine uses XML to provide a variety of information related to the machine. This includes: machine specifications, application software, what data should be acquired and how, and the relationship between machine data and information. Since it is typical for a given manufacturing site to operate a variety of process equipment based on different technologies, this open standards based approach means that the current challenges which prevent efficient transparency and better management of processes will soon become a thing of the past.

Takeshi Tominaga, global director of the CLPA commented: “Global megatrends such as IIoT, Industry 4.0 and Made in China 2025 are having an increasing impact on manufacturing companies worldwide. A key requirement to enable these trends is the real time handling and processing of manufacturing data in order to ensure the required level of transparency and management for optimised production.

“We are pleased to be able to combine our industry leading CSP+ for Machine concept with OPC UA in order to provide a compelling solution for end users and machine builders worldwide.”

Thomas Burke, president of the OPC Foundation, added: “This new companion specification means that end users and machine builders globally will continue to have a wide variety of options available as they expand their businesses and seek to maximise the flexibility of their operations. Success is measured by the level of adoption and the partnership between the CLPA and the OPC Foundation will truly result in advancing the industry significantly because of the power of the two technologies combined together.

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