Why do we need to synchronize clocks?

Many automation systems are made up of different devices, such as computers, controllers, and PLCs. Each device has a clock that tells the time. But these clocks are not perfect, and they can be wrong or change over time. This means that the devices may have different times, and this can cause problems. To avoid these problems, we need to make sure that all the devices have the same time. We do this by synchronizing their clocks with a common time source. This is especially important when we want to connect multiple systems together and exchange information quickly because we need the devices to agree on the time.

Another reason why clock synchronization is important in an industrial network is that it helps us to find and fix problems that happen in these systems. We can do this by looking at the records of the events that happened in the automation systems. These records have time stamps that tell us when the events occurred. However, these time stamps are only useful if they are accurate and consistent across the devices.

How do we synchronize clocks?

A clock synchronization system has three main parts: a time source, a clock synchronizer, and a synchronization protocol. In a sample system, the synchronizer gets the time data from the time source and uses the synchronization protocol to make the clients have the same time.

clock synchronization system

time source → clock synchronizer → communication sector

MAPCLOCK-MP Clock Synchronizer

The MAPCLOCK-MP clock synchronizer is a device that synchronizes the clocks of computers and industrial networks with the global GPS clock. It connects to GPS satellites and receives accurate time information. Then, it processes and sends this information to the client devices that need time through a communication medium. The client devices use this information to adjust and synchronize their internal clocks.

The MAPCLOCK-MP clock synchronizer supports protocols such as NTP, DCF77 and SINEC, which makes it compatible with a wide range of systems, including SPPAT2000 and SPPAT3000 power plant control systems and local area networks.

The MAPCLOCK-MP clock synchronizer also allows for redundancy in the network by using multiple devices. This ensures reliable clock synchronization for networks that have high requirements for time accuracy.

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