By Priyank Kishor, global product management leader, TE Connectivity
As Industry 4.0 advances manufacturing and production capabilities, factories can better integrate crucial processes, drive greater efficiencies, and access data and insights to improve operations. However, one significant challenge continues to stand in the way of optimizing machine-to-machine (M2M) communications: seamless interoperability and integration.
Interoperability in integrated communications
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) relies on machines equipped with sensors and smart programming to effectively communicate specific data sets to other machines, using the data to perform certain crucial steps. Ultimately, future-forward manufacturers envision a network of self-monitoring, adaptive learning machines that can generate and transmit data in real-time to coordinate production activity and tackle complex optimization tasks. In this vision of the factory of the future, M2M communications allow machines to autonomously make decisions about possible actions within the parameters of specific patterns and rules tailored to achieve certain types of operational efficiency improvements, such as shifting into pause mode immediately after it completes a production task, as a way to reduce energy use. These rules and patterns could also enable unprecedented flexibility in production.
Achieving this level of integrated performance requires truly interoperable connectivity that communicates seamlessly from the sensor/field level to the cloud and back, with no clunky buses or analog signals bogging things down in between. Fortunately, there’s been a significant breakthrough in streamlining M2M communications and providing greater interoperability: a high-speed, hybrid standard for industrial Single Pair Ethernet (SPE).
Optimizing M2M communication with SPE
SPE closes the communications gap at the field device level, making M2M communications transparent, providing a virtually barrier-free connection from the cloud to the edge, and uniting manufacturers around a common standard for high-speed industrial Ethernet.
With a hybrid interface that uses an M8 or M12 hybrid connector, industrial SPE provides data and power transmission in one cable. It delivers an impressive data transmission of up to 1 Gbps and power up to 8A or 16A. This allows engineers to optimize M2M communication in their applications without data loss, decentralize computing power, and smoothly get data to the network’s edge. And because M8 and M12 connectors are already widely used throughout the industrial market, the SPE standard is easier for manufacturers to adopt.
Aligning on the SPE standard is a key step in making the bold future of Industry 4.0 possible and clearing the last of the hurdles in the way of interoperability and optimized M2M communications. This slim, lightweight, yet powerful connectivity solution enables the industry to digitize at the field level and is a critical part of the IIoT infrastructure.
In addition, aligning on the SPE standard also enables businesses to use a standardized interface, which improves planning security, and also allows businesses to gain efficiencies in real-time communication. These two areas are key motivators for manufacturers to transition to SPE and unlock the full potential of M2M communications within their factories.
A partner in innovation
Is industrial SPE the innovation that will unlock the powerful advantages of Industry 4.0 and truly integrated, seamless M2M communications? The broad acceptance of a universal SPE standard will enable greater technological advancements in manufacturing, opening doors for real-time communication and production flexibility and intelligence that have been closed off until now.
TE Connectivity has a robust portfolio of SPE products, applications expertise, and offices worldwide to help customers meet their Industry 4.0 goals. More information can be found here.