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Trade Talk | April 2018

B&R steps up efforts advancing OPC UA

B&R is now represented in the OPC Foundation’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC). This move further strengthens B&R’s role in the strategic advancement of the OPC UA standard. Appointment to the TAC is a tribute to B&R’s committed involvement throughout numerous OPC Foundation working groups.

Drawing its membership from the likes of Microsoft, SAP, Rockwell and Siemens, TAC is the highest technical body within the OPC Foundation. The council is tasked with setting the strategic course for advancing OPC UA in a way that maximises user benefits. It has the authority to establish technical working groups and approve new OPC UA specifications. B&R will be represented in the TAC by Dr Dietmar Bruckner. As Technical Manager of Open Automation Technologies at B&R, Dr. Bruckner is responsible for all development activities surrounding OPC UA TSN.

“I’m very much looking forward to working in the TAC,” he says. “Together, we will make rapid progress in the development of PubSub and TSN. In combination with application-specific OPC UA companion specifications, we will very soon be able to offer a uniform standard for seamless communication from the sensor to the cloud.”

B&R is an innovative automation company with headquarters in Austria and offices all around the world. On July 6, 2017, B&R became a business unit of the ABB Group. As a global leader in industrial automation, B&R combines state-of-the-art technology with advanced engineering to provide customers in virtually every industry with complete solutions for machine and factory automation, motion control, HMI and integrated safety technology. With Industrial IoT communication standards like OPC UA, POWERLINK and openSAFETY as well as the powerful Automation Studio software development environment, B&R is constantly redefining the future of automation engineering. The innovative spirit that keeps B&R at the forefront of industrial automation is driven by a commitment to simplifying processes and exceeding customer expectations.

POWERLINK now IEEE 61158 standard

Meanwhile, POWERLINK has been adopted by the IEEE under international standard IEEE 61158. It is the only Industrial Ethernet protocol to achieve this status. The IEEE views its standards for TSN and POWERLINK as core components for real-time industrial communication.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest professional association in its field. Among its most prominent accomplishments is the IEEE 802.3 standard commonly known as Ethernet.

The IEEE’s industrial real-time communication working group has been working for the past two years on the definition of an Industrial Ethernet standard. In March 2017, POWERLINK was adopted as the sole IEEE standard with 97 per cent of the vote.

“Real-time industrial communication had previously been a gap for the IEEE,” explained Dr Victor Huang, responsible for standardisation at the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES) following the vote. “With its combination of high performance and unrestricted openness, POWERLINK is the perfect complement to the other IEEE communication standards.” “The adoption of POWERLINK as an IEEE standard is important toward standardising industrial automation technology at the field level,” added Prof Aleksander Malinowski, IEEE IES Senior AdCom Member.

EPSG Managing Director Stefan Schönegger sees great potential for POWERLINK as an IEEE standard, particularly in combination with another IEEE-development TSN technology. “In every aspect of global industry, openness has a way of winning out.”

The Ethernet POWERLINK Standardisation Group is an independent organisation founded in 2003 by leading companies from the fields of motion control and automation technology. Its aims are the standardisation and further development of the POWERLINK protocol first introduced by B&R in 2001. This high-performance real-time communication system is an advanced protocol based on the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard designed to ensure real-time data transfer in the microsecond range. The EPSG cooperates with leading standardisation organisations such as CAN in Automation (CiA), the OPC Foundation and the IEC. For details, visit www.ethernet-POWERLINK.org.

B&R expands Gilgenberg site

B&R is investing in its Gilgenberg site, located a few kilometers from the B&R headquarters in Eggelsberg. The expansion adds new offices, training rooms and production space. A new logistics hall has also been opened at the site.

The aim is to establish Gilgenberg as a competence centre for the development and production of electromechanical products. B&R motors are already assembled there. In the future, Gilgenberg will also host development and production of the intelligent ACOPOStrak transport system.

B&R’s expansion project in Gilgenberg is in response to increasing demand for production and office space. To keep pace with its steady growth, the company is already planning further investments in infrastructure and production facilities.

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