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Industrial Ethernet Book 103

TAepcphlincoaltoiognys Automation data leverages cloud connectivity architectures Cloud communication architectures are providing options for enabling Industrial Internet of Things applications by integrating connectivity with field level devices. IoT gateways and controllers that offer intrinsic cloud connectivity are combining with OPC UA to provide powerful, secure and flexible solutions. CLOUD COMPUTING and the Internet of Things promise interesting possibilities for industrial companies by enabling enterprise solutions from process design to new business models. A key prerequisite is a sufficiently wide database transmitted from the field level to the cloud. But this also requires a powerful, secure and flexible communication architecture. Big Data algorithms So the idea is to transmit sensors from the field level which, for example, monitor temperature curves, vibrations and power consumption of a machine, to the virtual evaluation platform, the cloud, as the basis for big data algorithms. Direct connectivity of sensors to the cloud via the Intranet and Internet, though, seems rather difficult in practice. Many sensors today are not even Ethernet-enabled; instead they transport the measured values to a programmable logic controller (PLC) via a current interface (4...20 mA). Modern sensors may offer an IO-Link interface, which is also not cloud-capable, and therefore must first be compiled into the corresponding protocols including a routing capability by means of a master module and a gateway. Even if the sensor system came with the necessary Ethernet interfaces and protocols, several thousand Internet connections from the field to the cloud would be very difficult for IT administrators to control, not to mention the vast amounts of data without a clear business case that would have to be processed in the cloud. Effective system architectures It therefore makes more sense to provide an aggregation unit on the control level that compresses the data and bundles the information from the large number of sensors. From the automation point of view, this task can optimally be carried out by a PLC, since most of the sensor data accrues there anyway, e.g., for machine monitoring. In addition, the PLC already performs its own compression, e.g., through logical or arithmetic linking of the data. In order to realize the communication from the PLC to the cloud, there are basically two approaches with specific advantages. On the one hand, IoT gateways can be used. These devices possess two logical units for data acquisition and communication to the cloud. The acquisition part is used to cyclically query the data to be transmitted from the field level, primarily from the PLC. The Ruggedcom RX1400 industrial IoT gateway from Siemens, for example, offers the Simatic S7 protocol, which allows the query of data without prior adaptation of the automation program, an effective solution for existing plants. For other device types, the RX1400 also supports OPC UA on the field level. So that besides using Ethernet, the data can also be transported via WLAN. For transmission to the cloud, the gateways support various communication protocols, e.g., for the connection to MindSphere. Furthermore, gateways are useful with regard to the security of the communication networks, since the cloud connection can take place via a separate network path. As an alternative, controllers can also offer intrinsic cloud connectivity. Although the automation project has to be adapted in the process, the possibilities are much more diverse. For instance, information about the context of the cloud data is available in the PLC, whether a machine is starting up, is operating normally or is in standby. Derived from this, different data can then be transmitted, or the cycle time for the transmission be dynamically adjusted – tight time periods during startup, rather sporadic status reporting in standby mode. This helps reduce the communication load and avoids flooding the cloud with irrelevant information noise. For these reasons, MindConnect FB technology provides corresponding communication blocks for the 8 industrial ethernet book 11.2017 SOURCE: SIEMENS Cloud connectivity requires a powerful, secure and flexible communication architecture.


Industrial Ethernet Book 103
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