HomeAI AutomationCelona Breathes New Life Into Industrial Process Automation

Celona Breathes New Life Into Industrial Process Automation

New private wireless technology now allows IT and OT staff to reliably transport latency-sensitive process automation protocols to supercharge digital transformation efforts

Celona, a leading innovator of enterprise private wireless systems today introduced enhancements to its 5G LAN system that, for the first time, enable IT and OT staff to reliably transport time sensitive protocols, such as PROFINET®, as well as other industrial layer2 protocols such as BUS, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, and Modbus TCP over 4G and 5G private wireless networks.

This brings much needed reliable mobility to essential process automation systems, such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs and robots that continuously communicate operational instructions to and from programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

Using Layer 2 GRE (general routing encapsulation) or VXLAN (virtual extensible LAN) tunneling techniques, Celona’s 5G LAN system now allows organizations to easily define and automatically apply traffic management policies to specified device groups that make use of the PROFINET protocol.

“Getting time sensitive protocols like PROFINET to work reliably over wireless has been a long-standing challenge for the industrial sector,” said Puneet Shetty, VP of Product Management for Celona. “Celona’s unique support for these types of protocols over private wireless will help organizations effectively eliminate downtime and interruptions for critical systems while enabling new levels of agility at a lower operational cost.”

One of the world’s most prolific industrial Ethernet solutions. PROFINET is a communication application and protocol, conceived to operate over a wired Ethernet network to exchange data between controllers and devices.

Used by myriad process automation systems within manufacturing oil and gas, chemical, and pharmaceuticals environments, such as assembly lines, robotic systems, and machine tools, protocols such as PROFINET provides key process controls, vital monitoring, and data acquisition. Its use facilitates electronic communication between different field devices, sensors, and control systems and allows for seamless integration and coordination between different machines, robots, and control systems by enabling efficient coordination and synchronization of production processes.

But unlike other communication protocols, PROFINET requires deterministic and low-latency transport for many applications, especially those involving motion control or safety-critical systems.

Unfortunately, conventional best effort wireless network technologies, such as Wi-Fi, have never been well suited to support PROFINET due to variable latency, jitter and packet loss and retransmissions caused by factors such as interference, network congestion, and changing environmental conditions. These challenges often render expensive and important process production systems inoperable over a wireless network.

TAKING PROCESS AUTOMATION WIRELESS WITH CELONA

Within the Celona Orchestrator, a cloud-based 5G LAN management system, IT or OT administrators simply define a device group and designate a unique traffic management or MicroSlicing™ policy for where strict latency, jitter, packet loss and throughput thresholds are automatically applied to traffic for that device group using the PROFINET protocol.

As PROFINET traffic traverses the Celona 5G LAN infrastructure, the Celona Edge dynamically establishes layer 2 tunnels from the edge to customer premise equipment (CPE). PROFINET is transmitted in Layer 2 Ethernet frames is then encapsulated within Layer 3 packets, which allows them to traverse network boundaries.

Since Layer 2 communication now takes place over the Layer 3 5G LAN, a central controller can communicate with decentralized I/O modules on mobile devices such AGVs via PROFINET in a private 5G network and no local controls are needed on the individual AGVs.

This saves costs, reduces maintenance, and radically streamlines the operational burden for IT/OT staff who would otherwise be forced to manually configure individual tunnels for each system. New policy-based frameworks can make supporting protocols like PROFINET a zero-touch experience for IT and OT staff as admins can configure a single policy and have it automatically applied to hundreds of sites and thousands of devices.