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THE "LAST MILE"
“netIC IOT is the first
IoT-enabled communication module
for field devices.”
- Christof Hunger, Product Manager
Object-oriented and IoT-Ready
Compact field devices will increasingly be equipped with more intelligence and functionality. Especially for I4.0 and IoT a continuous, object-oriented data model from field device to management level shall be established. Besides transmission via Real-Time Ethernet the objects shall be transferred directly to the cloud via IoT communication. To meet these objectives Hilscher has enhanced its DIL-32 Communication IC netIC with central IoT functionality.
The new IoT-ready netIC is based on the multiprotocol chip netX 52 and offers device manufacturers maximum flexibility with an easy handling. With netIC IOT the user can transmit data via OPC UA or MQTT on the same physical cable parallel to the Real-Time Ethernet communication - reactionless and bypassing the PLC. All process- and service-data of the field device will be arranged in a generic, protocol independent object model.
The OEM will be supported by an intelligent engineering tool, which guides him through the complete „build process“ of his device and he even can adapt the pinning of netIC IOT to his needs. In addition he can use netIC standard functionality like a SSIO interface for direct I/Os or a SPI interface to the host CPU.
Protocol independent object interface netPROXY
Device model with data, objects & services
Each network system offers specific services, which need to be implemented into the application by the user. This requires a deep knowledge of the functionality of each system and causes additional effort in the application software for each new network. This is where netPROXY technology starts.
The basic idea of netPROXY is to establish a deviceoriented object- and service-interface between application and communication. This abstraction layer hides the complexity as well as the different protocol APIs and allows cyclic and acyclic data exchange with just a few simple services.
The device manufacturer only needs to implement this generic object interface in his application and netPROXY transcribes the objects automatically in corresponding network services. Thus the OEM can develop his application completely separated from any network specific requirement and finally receives a real multiprotocol device.
The OEM will be supported by an intelligent engineering tool, which guides him through the complete „build process“ of his field device. In this process the OEM creates the object model for his device and the data will almost automatically be mapped to the chosen network system. In addition to settings for OPC UA, MQTT and the user management the OEM can even adapt the pinning of the DIL-32 IC to his needs.
As result the OEM receives a downloadable image for his device, a customized device description file (EDS) as well as source code for integration into his application (.h).
One design for all protocols
netIC IOT is a true multiprotocol module and supports all Real-Time Ethernet slave protocols on just one hardware. With an engineering tool the OEM generates the protocol independent object model for his device, which he only needs to implement once in his application software. Changing the network protocol will purely be done via „build process“ in the tool. Thus there are no network specific adjustments needed for the application and the OEM can realize a true multiprotocol device with exactly one hardware and software design.
Adapt netIC IOT to your product - not the other way around
netIC IOT has been designed in that way that OEMs can adapt the DIL-32 pinning to their needs. Besides several predefined pins for power supply and communication all other pins are almost free configurable and the OEM can choose in the engineering tool between UART, I2C, SPI, GPIO, LED, CAN or SSIO.
Flexible DIL-32 pinning via engineering tool
Ready-made templates allow a quick and easy start. For current netIC customers who cannot change their hardware design, but want to use new IoT functionality, a compatible pinning will be provided. All others can use a pin layout with a SPI host interface. In addition netIC IOT offers the possibility to pre-process certain data via scripting language.
Integrated OPC UA and MQTT functionality
A key demand of I4.0 and IoT is the transmission of information from the field device to the cloud via IoT communication. netIC IOT is well positioned and the process- and service-data will already be arranged in objects and thus transformed to information in the communication module. Besides the Real-Time Ethernet stack the IoT-ready netIC additionally contains an integrated OPC UA server and MQTT client. The OPC UA or MQTT connection will be established on a parallel TCP/IP channel next to the real-time communication on the same cable - reactionless and bypassing the PLC.
Cloud connectivity, but still secure
Connecting field devices to a cloud increases the importance of security mechanisms in factory automation. Besides standard security of the IT-Infrastructure, system designers have to consider security concepts for field devices and controls. netIC IOT is a step ahead. The device manufacturer can connect a TPM chip (Trusted Platform Module) via SPI and thus enhance netIC in the future with additional security mechanisms like „secure boot“.