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netIC IOT - 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 or an Edge-Gateways via IoT communication. To meet these objectives Hilscher has enhanced its compact 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 with the intelligent engineering tool netXStudio, which guides him through the complete „build process“ of his device and in future 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.
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Software structure to the application
As common interface for the data exchange to the host processor netX based products use an internal Dual-Port-Memory. It has a clearly defined layout, consisting of a system channel, a handshake channel and up to 4 communication channel, which can be used for independent functionality / protocols.
The numbers of communication channel offered to the application varies, depending on the functional range of the used netX firmware.
The firmware of netIC IOT offers one channel (Channel 0), which can be accessed by the host processor using a 50MHz SPI interface (SPM) as default. This channel 0 provides Real-Time Ethernet data as well as IoT data to the application. The specialty of netIC IOT is that the data will not be transferred as simple memory map, but in the protocol independent object model netPROXY.
On top, digital I/O can directly be connected via conventional shift registers using an additional synchronous serial interface (SSIO). The data will then be used by the application, the Real-Time Ethernet or IoT-communication.
Cyclic / acyclic Real-Time Ethernet data & IoT data
Digital I/O via shift registers
Protocol independent object interface netPROXY
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 device-oriented 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 in future 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).