Middleware solutions for automation applications - case RTPS

Abstract: This thesis has been written as a part of a research project, whose goal is to define the architecture and communication requirements of next-generation process automation systems. We focus on defining appropriate communication mechanisms for components that communicate with each other using Ethernet.

The theoretical part starts by summarizing the communication requirements that have been defined in the research project (OHJAAVA-2). Two middleware standards, the CORBA Notification Service and RTPS, are then described and their usefulness for our purposes is evaluated.

The practical part contains a description of a testing environment for evaluating a RTPS implementation. The test cases are based on communication scenarios that are typically encountered in process automation systems. The results are then presented and the impact of all relevant factors is analyzed.

We conclude that the RTI Data Distribution Service implementation of RTPS is a very promising middleware solution for process automation systems. There is no perfect product that satisfies all of our requirements, but good results can be expected from using RTPS, if the system designers appreciate the strengths and limitations of the middleware standard.

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