Secure and Dependable Systems and Networks

The number of applications whose malfunctioning could jeopardise lives and property is increasing. To address these risks, the InES is carrying out R&D work on special hardware and software designs, development processes and tools. Standardised methods and designs should substantially reduce the high costs and significant investments of time usually associated with ensuring functional security and reliability.

Real Time Ethernet

Real Time Ethernet (RTE) is a technology area concerned with introducing determinism into industrial Ethernet communication networks whilst retaining the high throughput of traditional Ethernet communication systems. Application areas are Factory Automation, Industrial Monitoring and Alarm Systems, Energy Generation and Control, Automotive, Aeronautics and Rail applications.

The focus of research and development in the RTE group is twofold.

  • First is the research and development of technology and architectures for optimised high performance, highly synchronous communication controllers. In partnership with Enclustra, Xilinx and Molex our certified PROFINET communication controller, easyIRT, is available for licensing from Enclustra.
  • The second focus is the research and prototyping of networking concepts and nodes for innovative applications.

Factory Automation applications tend to require a high number of synchronised distributed nodes upholding guaranteed and deterministic data transfer. Typical applications include general distributed control and high performance motion control. Typical machines where RTE is used are plastic moulding, printing presses, high precision polishing machines, energy generation (wind turbines) distributed I/O applications and robotics.

Monitoring and Alarm systems tend to require highly synchronous guaranteed and deterministic isochronous data transfer and, in the case of problems, large throughput of diagnostic data.

The research group is a PROFINET Competence Center and a founding member of the Ethernet POWERLINK Special interest Group.

Molex demonstrates the PROFINET IO-Device/EtherNet IP Adapter Software development kit on a iPad

Safety and Dependability

Safe and Dependable hard and software is traditionally expensive and suffers a very long time-to-market. The research focus of this group is to make safe and dependable technology cheaper and more available to Small and Medium Enterprises. This results in two specific areas of research and development

  • The research and implementation of methods and algorithms that allow the use of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) components in Safe and Highly-Available systems.
  • The research and implementation of safe and dependable multi-processor architectures in re-programmable and re-configurable hardware.

Projects