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Future Map


Future Map

Digital twin, artificial intelligence or security - what are the technological drivers of today and tomorrow? Bachmann electronic has collected answers and created a technology universe for you. Travel with us through new worlds of automation and find out on the following pages which answers Bachmann electronic has.

Have a good trip!
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The "Technology Universe"

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Digital twin

The digital twin is primarily used for experiments - keyword: model-based development. Here, changes and adjustments are first simulated on the digital twin and then applied in the field. The advantage of the software is that it can be simulated and programmed very close to reality. Click for more information.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a software process that investigates behavior and draws conclusions about future actions. In this procedure, the system stores repetitive operations, addressing or information as experience values from which it recognizes regularities that it includes in subsequent operations. Click for more information.

The new communication standard?

The goal is real-time capability of Ethernet. The technology promises unified and universally available handling of deterministic real-time data traffic on standard network infrastructure. This enables the transmission of high-priority data and guarantees end-to-end latency, thus achieving high data availability. Click for more information.

IEC or C - who speaks what?

The industry "speaks object-oriented". Bachmann electronic was already using C/C++ in the 1990's - parallel to IEC 61131. languages such as JavaScript and Python are currently being used in industrial automation - also to connect IoT worlds. Click for more information.

Security for the factory

Confidentiality, availability and integrity must be guaranteed. Currently, only a few companies do patches and give up standard passwords. The focus of data security is on process parameters, key stores and user administration. This requires a high degree of flexibility for role-based access, fine-grained access control and user-oriented access to individual data and variables. IEC 62443 standards the safety standard. Click for more information.

Industry Platforms

Trumpf, Kuka, Siemens, DMG Mori - they all have a platform. The platform becomes the operating system and Prof. Thomas Bauernhansl from the Fraunhofer IPA can even imagine a controller from it. Bachmann electronic is not an advocate of operator platforms. Many things are reminiscent of user organisations such as those from the 1990s. Bachmann electronic has been offering two cloud solutions for years - some have met with a great response on the market, others only three or four users. Our customers are looking for our advice. But let's be realistic: controls in machine tools are and remain closed for the time being. The few pieces of information that are shared are certainly not enough for an application today.

Focus on operation

Good user interfaces are the basis for safety and productivity. In the meantime, users are clearly demanding this. Due to the complexity that industry 4.0 brings with it, usability becomes a decisive success factor in engineering. We attach great importance to usability in the coming years.

Blocks for data

After the crypto currencies, industry could be the next beneficiary of this technology, because the security of the transactions in particular makes the industry dream of new ideas - for example, the communication of setting parameters of machines or data transfers to and from the various machines in the supply chain are conceivable. Smart contracts are also included.

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Overview of the technologies

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Simulation of the machine

Bachmann electronic has spanned the gap between this virtual world and real industrial real-time control with its M-Target for Simulink® since 2005. This software offers engineers a decisive advantage in model-based development: a single engineering tool from the first simulation design to real-time code generation and online debugging of a developed application in the customer's company.

The starting point is a simulation model that reflects the behaviour of the plant. Simulink® provides various toolboxes for this virtual replica that allow a system description on a physical level. Then the simulation is extended by the necessary process and control algorithms. Exact system models for the highest demands, however, also take into account the signal behavior over time of the control components used. The M1 input and output modules required for this are simulated by M-Target for Simulink®. In addition, the target enables networking with other parallel control applications and direct connection to the M1 CPU. Real-time code generation for industrial control How can the code be implemented directly on the target control? With M-Target for Simulink®, Bachmann electronic was the first to enable real-time code generation for an industrial controller directly from the simulation model. Post-processing of the automatically generated code is not necessary, which eliminates these sources of error right from the start. Just a single mouse click creates a real-time application from the model, which is immediately processed on the M1 CPU with cycle times from 200 µs on 24 hours and 7 days a week. The expansion of the simulation model to a hardware-in-the-loop test stand enables future application extensions to be tested in advance in conjunction with their environment. In addition, new personnel can be trained here without risk. With M-Target for Simulink®, Bachmann electronic offers a solution that carries its fruits far beyond the initial delivery of the system.

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More than marketing

61 years ago the first scientific conference took place in the USA, at which the term "artificial intelligence" was first mentioned. Several decades later, humanity is experiencing its first applications. This requires powerful processors and sophisticated algorithms. "The first condition has been historically validated by the advances in microelectronics, which have reduced electronic components down to microscopic scales, it is validated by increasing parallelization anchored in the computer architecture and it may be validated in the future. through progress in the development of application-ready Quantum computer. And as far as algorithms are concerned, there is also a rapidly growing amount of them. But in the end, real applications are always to be expected where they relieve people of work that they also intend to give away," says Prof. Dr. Michael Schulz of Indalyz Monitoring & Prognostics. Prof. Dr. Antonio Krüger from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) sums it up in this way: AI is the realization of intelligent behavior and the underlying cognitive abilities on computers or AI is the future computer science. According to Krüger, the following applies in AI research: "Severe problems are easy, light problems are difficult. "Say: AI can find a bug in the computer chip, but it's hard for her to understand a joke." Prof. Dr. Schulz adds: "AI and machine learning are actually related. But both terms are not clear, as there is already a lack of a binding definition of intelligence and learning. It is better to distinguish between strong and weak artificial intelligence. During strong artificial intelligence is understood to mean the attempt to create a humane intelligence, weak artificial intelligence is more likely to be associated with concepts such as pattern recognition, machine learning or data mining."

Bachmann electronic and AI

AI or machine learning is also exciting for Bachmann electronic, challenging field of research that we are vigilantly pursuing. But too often, however. from our point of view, technologies and goals in public discussion mixed thematically with each other or get a label purely for marketing purposes AI. Example: Predictive Maintenance. We have been doing this for many years very successful - even without AI methods. The Bachmann electronic CMS is one step further than just machine information of the same kind to use: We collect process data from around 6,000 wind turbines at different locations, various manufacturers and types. The experience with these data flow into our algorithms, which generate complex error patterns. From this, the customer derives measures for his predictive maintenance in order to gain an economic advantage. This would allow the plants are already deciding automatically when and with what complaints you want to consult a service representative. Predictive maintenance will in future be offered to completely different industrial sectors. many solutions will be realized in a very classic way, for some we will also use AI methods in the next step.

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TSN Switch and Control System

Due to Moore and Nielsen legislation - which doubles computer performance and network bandwidth every 18 to 24 months - it will no longer make sense to accumulate the individual tasks in complex, central control systems with several operating systems and hypervisors. Rather, the tasks must be distributed to small, easily controllable, networked nodes and so-called holonic production systems must be formed. Decentralization "down" on the plant floor and centralization through web services "up" in the cloud is the motto in times of industry 4.0. Some of these nodes will no longer be permanently installed, but will move mobile and communicate with the immobile stations at the stations in real time. Example: A mobile robot transports the semi-finished product to a processing station where a permanently installed robot carries a polishing machine. By means of synchronized movements they polish the product together. The real-time communication required for these requirements is currently only possible via fieldbuses. However, as the name suggests, these were developed for the communication of I/Os into the field and with their primitive bit and byte data are not up to the modern requirements of service-oriented control to control communication - keyword: peer-to-peer. In the last two years, the conviction that TSN - as the lower layer - and OPC UA will soon play a major role as a communication solution in industrial automation has therefore established itself in the scene. But where will the limits of use lie? There is currently no consensus in the industry on this point. Actors - such as the Profibus user organization - are convinced that the OPC UA plus TSN communication combination belongs to the future, but is limited to the field of application from the cloud down to the control level. They are convinced that the classic field level of the automation pyramid will continue to be covered in the future by solutions such as Profinet ,IRT, EtherCAT and Sercos. The representatives of the so-called Shaper Group - a loose group of 17 IT and industry automation manufacturers: "We assume that OPC UA plus TSN will quickly turn out to be a game changer in the field of industrial automation, the first and only candidate for the development of an integrated communication infrastructure from sensor to cloud" - this is an excerpt from the latest whitepaper "OPC UA TSN - A new solution for industrial communication" of the group.

And what does Bachmann eletronic do?

All CPUs of the M1 automation system from Bachmann electronic can already be operated as OPC UA servers and clients. Communications with the SCADA system atvise® or the in-house cloud solution also use OPC UA as standard. TSN is closely monitored and supported by Bachmann electronic. The IEEE standardization group has developed TSN as an industry-independent solution to further improve Ethernet. It is therefore foreseeable that automation engineers will not have to develop and use any special components. In cooperation with the Swabian switch manufacturer Hirschmann Automation and Control, Bachmann electronic carried out research projects in which the suitability of the new technology in connection with the control technology was examined. Hirschmann has provided prototypes of new, TSN-capable switches, Bachmann electronic provides the real-time controllers for the automation systems. With this jointly developed test setup, Hirschmann presents the new technology at various specialist congresses.

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Development Toolbox

In the monthly index of the most important programming languages updated by Tiobe, classics such as C, C++ and Java have been ahead for years (the latter again strengthened, due to many Android apps). Then come C# and JavaScript (everything that happens in the web/browser). The good old "C" is even co-nominated as "Fastest Growing Language 2018" next to the Kotlin language. So it is the proven technologies behind the new lifestyle gadgets, the disruptive business models and the IoT. And what about industrial automation? Not much different: The classic IEC 61131-3 has a constant lead of around 80 % penetration. Number 2 is C, followed by C++ and model-based development with MATLAB®/Simulink® in third and fourth place in our application statistics. A total of 83 % of those surveyed, in the current Rothhöft market study SPS Systems 2018, continue to see the IEC 61131 languages as the central implementation technology in the future. Why Bachmann electronic relies on IEC 61131-3The clear advantages that helped the IEC 61131-3 break through and keep it at the top are simple to summarize: Safety comes first - above all, potential errors must be prevented from the outset. With statically allocated memory, largely dispensing with pointer arithmetic and predominantly strictly cyclical processing, robustness is promoted from the first line and the effectiveness of the 61131 languages comes in second place: they were created precisely for the fact that even engineers without a completed degree in computer science can implement the tasks assigned to them very quickly, robustly and above all comprehensibly. Thirdly, of course, a language for PLC and embedded automation must be suitable for ensuring hard real-time. Interpreter languages should be considered with caution, those with garbage collections like C# or Java are of course very special. By far the largest proportion of source code in automation is still produced in Structured Text (ST), a procedural high-level language that is somewhat reminiscent of PASCAL. And then there are the graphic languages FBD, CFC and SFC: They are used where, in addition to professional software engineers, other groups of people must also be able to read and understand a source code, e.g. commissioning engineers, service technicians, process specialists or safety auditors. The use share is smaller than that of ST, but very constant over the years.

It is important that the engineering chain supports the true achievements of general IT & Informatics: Bachmann electronic already offers a high-quality connection to repository systems such as SVN or GIT for all languages. This is not only needed for version management. In general, the cooperation of larger development teams would be inconceivable without this technology. Continuous Delivery" with "Daily Builds" and "Test Driven Development" will also be necessary for the PLC world in the future! These technologies have already arrived in the software of the Austrians, also for IEC 61131-3, including Multi-Threading and MultiCore.

If one wants to look at the language discussion from the benefit side, then one can hold: Works well, which fits the task well. With the spectrum from IEC 61131-3 via C/C++ to Simulink, you have the toolbox for all tasks that are really relevant in industrial automation - including Industry 4.0, IoT and Cloud. One does oneself no good if another technology is added in every project. What counts much more than language is the efficiency of the toolchain and the infrastructure at the target system.
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Cryptographic applications

Mr. Scherrer, you have placed a Trojan horse on the exhibition stand - which neighbouring stand do you want to attack?

Christoph Scherrer: We don't attack anyone, because the horse is tamed by us and won't leave the stand - that's a promise! Rather, we want to use the eye-catcher to educate our industrial customers or sensitize them so that they do not let malware or attackers into their production without their knowledge. From our point of view, there is still far too little talk about security - both equipment suppliers and users avoid the topic. We absolutely need the exchange with the users in order to develop solutions for defence together!

Are the users ignorant?

Scherrer: Yes, many already. Ignorance is one of the biggest gateway for attackers - see for example With the search engine you can find open, unprotected controls or IoT devices worldwide - many of our industrial customers were surprised when we presented the search engine results to them. Want to see the HMI of a brewery in Italy? No problem to find everything quickly. Or take Google Dorking. This is a passive attack to find out user names and passwords, e-mail addresses, secret documents, private financial data and security holes on websites.

So what do you suggest?

Scherrer: A first important step would be the end of the default passwords or default operating settings and consistent patching. Another measure is to encrypt the files, as we do with our own M1 controllers. This allows us to protect critical data such as log files or recipes. Fine-grained access control also allows you to share or prohibit access to individual files and even variables for each user. This is monitored by a central security protocol, which records every logon and logoff process as well as all changing accesses and thus also serves as a helpful instrument in the event of a warranty claim. And: We can connect further cryptographic applications via open interfaces.

Is that enough?

Scherrer: No, certainly not. In addition, we equip our controllers with network bandwidth limiting functions to increase robustness against intentional and unintentional network disturbances. Real-time processes are not disturbed by overloading the network interface. The access control and monitoring measures already mentioned are also effective here. These help to prevent unauthorized function calls and, if necessary, to limit potential sources of error.

And what can or must the users themselves do?

Scherrer: The operation of a complex machine park requires a consistent and centralized management of users, their passwords and authorizations as well as certificates. Accordingly, we recommend users a security management with clear guidelines and rights assignment - because the biggest risks are employees in the company who are ignorant or frustrated, who destroy the processes. If the worst comes to the worst, our automation system offers a backup and recovery mechanism. But we should also be aware that many attacks are only registered by companies many months after the actual attack.

Christoph Scherrer is Product Manager Safety and Security at Bachmann electronic.
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