Clock Synchronization in Integrated TSN-EtherCAT Networks

Authors Daniel Bujosa Mateu | Daniel Hallmans | Mohammad Ashjaei | Alessandro Papadopoulos | Julián Proenza Arenas | Thomas Nolte
In 25th IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA 2020), Vienna, 2020.


Moving towards new technologies, such as Time Sensitive Networking (TSN), in industries should be gradual with a proper integration process instead of replacing the existing ones to make it beneficial in terms of cost and performance. Within this context, this paper identifies the challenges of integrating a legacy EtherCAT network, as a commonly used technology in the automation domain, into a TSN network. We show that clock synchronization plays an essential role when it comes to EtherCAT-TSN network integration with important requirements. We propose a clock synchronization mechanism based on the TSN standards to obtain a precise synchronization among EtherCAT nodes, resulting to an efficient data transmission. Based on a formal verification framework using UPPAAL tool we show that the integrated EtherCAT-TSN network with the proposed clock synchronization mechanism achieves at least 3 times higher synchronization precision compared to not using any synchronization.
Time-sensitive networking, TSN, clock synchronization, EtherCAT, formal verification.

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