Automation Meets Embedded Systems | Automation World

What do automation and embedded systems have in common? The short answer is more and more. The annual Embedded World trade fair, held every winter in Nuremberg, Germany, has become the world’s largest show for the highly fragmented embedded community of suppliers, developers and users. Though the embedded market is fragmented into thousands of different application areas, the focus on automation has grown sharply in recent years as automation suppliers put more intelligence into their field devices.

The ongoing success of Embedded World is due to the growing influence of embedded systems, primarily in the automotive sector, but also in automation. Just as the importance of software is rising, embedded systems (the combination of computer hardware and software designed for a specific function within a larger system) is growing rapidly. In addition to everyday applications like automobiles, medical equipment, airplanes, vending machines, cameras, household appliances, toys and mobile devices, embedded systems are employed frequently in industrial machines and process industry devices. And the number of applications is expanding as industrial devices become more connected.

Time-Sensitive Networking

Many exhibitors at the show highlighted implementations of the IEEE standards for Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN). National Instruments, for example, is cooperating with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), Bosch Rexroth, Cisco, Intel, Kuka, Schneider Electric and TTTech to develop a testbed for this new IEEE 802.1 real-time Ethernet standard for use in industrial applications. The testbed will evaluate the use of TSN in a live production application.

TSN, an open standard network architecture, provides cross-vendor integration and interoperability. The technology supports open, deterministic real-time communication over a single Ethernet network, such as between motor control applications and industrial robots. TSN provides access to data in real time. This is…

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