High-Speed Implement BUS for Heavy Equipment

By Contributed Article | August 23, 2022

Heavy equipment doesn’t work alone. As agricultural and industrial machinery becomes part of connected networks with command centers and other equipment units, system architectures are incorporating CAN and ISOBUS to meet the growing data networking requirements.

BUS for heavy equipment

Controller Area Network (CAN) systems have been used in heavy equipment and industrial machinery applications since the 1990s as part of proprietary manufacturer equipment solutions. But at the same time, the age of connected equipment was already in the works with technologies in development that would help create Industry 4.0, Agriculture 4.0, and the Industrial IoT. Those solutions took shape in the 2000s when the global agriculture industry united behind the work of AEF-the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation to develop ISO 11783, a serial control and communications data network protocol. Commonly known as ISOBUS, this protocol serves heavy equipment in the agriculture, forestry, and off-highway industries, and others that require interconnectivity across machinery units.

As the first international CANBUS standard, ISO 11783 is approaching plug-and-play ease across AEF Certified Machinery. The ISOBUS developed in ISO 11783-1 has expanded to allow an increase in functionalities through additions addressing the physical layer (11783-2), data link layer (11783-3), network layer (11783-4), and on through sequence control (11783-14). These functions give operators the ability to realize precision farming applications.

ISOBUS 11783

The success of ISO 11783 has allowed digitalization across equipment OEMs; operators may choose the implements they need regardless of brand and have confidence that diverse machinery can communicate using the same network. It also enables the development of data protocols that drive new functionalities; as agriculture and forestry increasingly integrate cameras and sensor-rich monitoring functions into their operations, standardized high-speed connectivity has become a greater need. In some use cases, operators integrate digital cameras using an independent architecture and create a unified and simplified system where the electronics and protocols are combined into one to eliminate redundant vehicle architectures. Today, data protocols for a high-speed architecture allows more data to be shared between the machines. For instance, it helps farmers strategically time planting and harvesting, apply fertilizer and insecticide in response to data collected in the field, and manage irrigation systems in tandem with forecasted weather and specific field conditions. Likewise, forestry operations can monitor similar field conditions to optimize and execute harvests.

Powell’s ISOBUS Implement Connector

Powell’s ISOBUS Implement Connector is a new design for the implement connector specified in the ISO 11783 protocol.

This new ability to plug-and-play systems using high-speed ISOBUS will allow for more command and control, more precise data logging, and detailed display of information at a command center or through an app. In the future, these machines will include autonomous capabilities, if not complete autonomous operation. To achieve these autonomous functions, there is a need to achieve control timing and latency less than 10 microseconds as well as a reliable 1 Gb/s signal integrity for up to 40 M. That will enable the next generation of equipment to have even greater control. For example, crop planting or spraying systems will use FMIS data to control the nozzle for each row it passes. In the construction industry, telematics will direct earthmoving machines using shared prescription maps. Additional use cases include tracking a companion machine and integrating vehicle and remote camera views across machinery brands.

In 2011, the need to safely create a network architecture to meet these needs led AEF PT10 to begin work on the High-Speed Implement BUS. The choice of Ethernet as the form of this system was guided by its success in the automotive industry and by the development of the Ethernet standard IEEE 802.3bp. The choice of OPEN Alliance software standard OPC UA and other variants for different data speeds allows industrial equipment and applications to communicate together in a secure and reliable way. A standardized Gb Ethernet switch will work as the vehicle control interface and the DT Highspeed IEEE802.3bp Type A & B Ethernet connector family will be used for MDI. These single-pair Ethernet (SPE) connectors and shielded cables will connect the switch with any edge sensing and control solutions, creating a true plug and play High Speed Implement bus.

Powell High Speed ISOBUS Gb Ethernet switch

The Powell High Speed ISOBUS Gb Ethernet switch is built with SPE industry standards, achieving 1 Gb/s data speed up to 40 m and high-definition data sharing across multiple devices. Powell Agricultural Solutions will release this product in January 2023 to continue its legacy from ISO 11783-2 into the new architecture designs.

The equipment types that rely on ISOBUS operate in harsh environments where weather extremes, constant UV exposure, temperature fluctuations, chemicals, moisture, and particulates (including mud) are present. Components must be ruggedized to protect performance and longevity in the field. They also must be ruggedized to resist shock and vibration. Electronics that support ISOBUS applications must be IP sealed against ingress of contaminants, including fluids under pressure.

The design and manufacturing process for new Gb Ethernet switches are currently in development with AEF HSI. Advantages to users include no development cost; cost leveraging of common materials and processes with existing volumes; proven delivery performance during global component allocation constraints; advanced failure analysis lab and technology development process; on-site and accredited test facilities to execute and support product qualification; extended ISO 11783 lifecycle product design and SPE manufacturing expertise; and consistent execution of program schedule deliverables.

Visit Powell Agriculture Solutions to learn more about networking solutions for heavy equipment.

Like this article? Check out our other ruggedized, connected vehicles, and networking articles, our Transportation Market Page, and our 2022 Article Archive

Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletters, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and check out our eBook archives for more applicable, expert-informed connectivity content.

Get the Latest News