Bosch and Qualcomm demo TSN over 5G, as manufacturing set for $4.7tn 5G boom
Bosch and Qualcomm have set up shop at the Smart Production Solutions (SPS) trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany, this week to show industrial devices using time-sensitive networking (TSN) over a live 5G network.
The combination of TSN and 5G is a key showcase for automation and analytics in the manufacturing sector, which is expected to single-handedly generate about a third (36 per cent, $4.7 trillion) of the $13.2 trillion opportunity created by industrial-grade 5G – effectively, everything outside of straight consumer mobile broadband services. The forecasts are by analyst house IHS Markit, in a new study commissioned by Qualcomm.
Bosch Rexroth, the industrial automation division of Bosch, has set up two industrial test devices from Qualcomm at SPS, running TSN synchronization over a 5G test network. The network is operating in the 3.7-3.8 GHz spectrum band, which has been earmarked for regional and local networks in Germany.
Bosch has been an early champion of 5G, and notably, privately operated 5G for manufacturing. Last week, it emerged Bosch has applied for localised spectrum licenses in Germany. The company will trial private 5G networks at at least two sites in the next months, and deploy full 5G networks in its own spectrum during in 2020.
Bosch Rexroth is using the SPS showcase to launch its new ctrlX automation solution, as well. In the demo with Qualcomm, two ctrlX CORE controls interact in real time over the 5G test network.
Gunther May, director of technology at Bosch Rexroth, said: “Our ctrlX Automation platform will allow industrial machine manufacturers to choose between real-time wired industrial Ethernet or real-time 5G wireless communication according to their needs – without having to change the machine application.”
TSN comprises a set of enhancements to Ethernet to make it more ‘deterministic’, available on time with low latency, low jitter and high reliability. These enhancements allow time-sensitive delivery of information in industrial applications in an open standard network, defined by IEEE standards.
The emergence of the OPC UA over TSN (OPC-UA TSN) communications stack is a key part of the developing industrial IoT narrative, with halting technological innovation and industrial transformation set to be kick-started by its release and deployment in smart factories.
Bosch Rexroth is part of a consortium of industrial tech providers seeking to establish new OPC-UA based communications. Others include ABB, Belden, B&R, Cisco, Hilscher, KUKA, National Instruments, Parker Hannifin, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Rockwell Automation, and Schneider Electric. The same band of automation specialists is backing OPC-US TSN.
Qualcomm and Bosch announced at Mobile World Congress in February a joint study of radio channels in industrial environments to learn how to best serve factories with new digital technologies. Their new proof-of-concept is a precursor to the upcoming 5G capability to support TSN natively, expected in 3GPP’s Release 16 of the 5G standard, scheduled for the first half of 2020.
Yongbin Wei, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, commented: “TSN is a fundamental enabling technology for industrial automation, and having the capability to run TSN over wireless 5G networks will allow for greater flexibility on the factory floor. We are proud to continue our long-standing collaboration with Bosch Rexroth, and we are looking forward to demonstrating the full capabilities of 5G TSN as part of Release 16 next year.”
Qualcomm and Nokia deployed 5G test network and a number of 5G test devices at Hannover Messe 2019 for various European industrial giants including Bosch, Siemens, and Volkswagen to put next-generation industrial connectivity through its paces.
Bosch has said advanced LTE and 5G technologies are at the heart of its automation efforts. The company has set an incremental revenue target of €1 billion per annum by 2022 from applying digital-change solutions inside and outside of its own factories. It has already raised €1.5 billion in total additional revenue, it has said.
Meanwhile, Bosch has launched its own data integration tool, under its Nexeed digital factory brand, to make production and logistics data available to industrial companies in a “compatible and standardized form”. The likes of BMW and Trumpf use Nexeed, as well as Bosch’s own factories.
The new Nexeed Industrial Application System, using open interfaces, integrates with common industrial platforms and legacy machines. It offers system administrators “simple operation, clear master data management and individually defined access rights”, it said.
It includes applications for live monitoring of production processes or central management of industrial IoT devices such as routers, machine controls and sensors. It connects with the new ctrlX automation platform from Bosch Rexroth.
Sven Hamann, senior Vice president for Bosch’s connected industry division, said: “NEXEED is the brain of the intelligent factory… [It] breathes new life into old systems and makes them fit for Industry 4.0… With the new automation platform, we are improving the overall equipment effectiveness of machines by up to 10 per cent. In conjunction with NEXEED, another ten percent can be added.”
He added: “All components of the system speak the same language and work together optimally. NEXEED forms the basis for a fully connected, transparent production process. With our solutions no one has to update the devices individually with the USB stick anymore. This enables us to consistently close security gaps in the factory.”