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How will your organization benefit from Industry 4.0 and IIoT?

If your factory, plant, laboratory, or machinery is equipped with control room style systems using sensors, SCADA based visualization, or if it is equipped with PLCs each controlling a portion of your machinery or process, and if you would like to connect disparate sensors, controls, and networks together to exploit the advantages of pooling data that will enhance your operational effectiveness and converge your IT/OT systems, you can count on us to assist you in your projects. We can help you connect disparate and disconnected parts of your systems together so meaningful data from all parts of your systems including the outlying edges can be made available for analysis, learning, and intelligent decision making.

 

IIoT projects are collaborative in nature and every customer’s needs are unique. As system integrators, we work closely with our customers to develop a clear understanding of their needs and wishes. Starting from the discovery phase, we follow procedures that formalize customer requirements thus allowing us to address a broad scope of new operational specifications. From role definition to management of historical data, data security, and tailored data representation, we work closely with stake-holders to implement the new systems. In our experience, seamless organizational boundaries allows feature rich projects to be executed within budget and on time.

We also have partnerships with major suppliers of software components that allow us to use as much off-the-shelf software as possible. Off-the-shelf components reduce cost and accelerate development. However, when needed, we also have a team of developers who can create customized solutions and “glue” software to provide smoothly integrated solutions. From definition to delivery, we rely and thrive on customer involvement in all phases of each project.

 

OPC is the way!

OPC is an established standard that is managed by OPC Foundation. OPC foundation has developed well-established certification processes for the standards it supports, and as a result, while different suppliers of OPC software provide their own implementation, the functionalities provided by the software obey all the core requirements. This in turn allows OPC servers and clients to operate seamlessly together, even if they are supplied by different suppliers. The latest version of OPC standard is called OPC UA which is continuously enhanced and in addition to client/server architecture, is not also supporting publisher/subscriber models for acquisition and distribution of data from industrial system edge components such as sensors and controllers and delivery to other industrial system components such as HMIs, or for supplying data to enterprise ERP and MES systems.

Drivers for Sensors and Controllers

In order to connect to sensors and controllers in the field, OPC servers use drivers that are tailor-made to interface with the hardware. The drivers often address a family of controllers from the same manufacturer. For legacy systems where drivers may not be available, it is necessary to implement upgrades to the system. If older versions of OPC, namely OPC Classic, has been previously implemented, we can create solutions that allow OPC UA and OPC Classic to coexist in order to meet budgetary constraints. We have experience with the products of leading suppliers software and after a thorough analysis of the present state of your plant, we will select the most suitable suite of software components that will meet your requirements. 

Alarms and Events Processing

Alarms and Events management is key for safe operation of process industries. In addition, it allows process and control engineers to implement upgrades and improvements that will improve stablity, safety, and quality, increase through-put, reduce energy use, or return some other benefit. Also, alarm reports prepared to ISA-18.2 or IEC 62682 are often necessary due to legal or other compliance requirements. There are OPC based tools that facilitate pooling alarm sources together. For example, not only sources of alarms and events from safety sensors for leaking gases, fire, operator safety, criticial process variables, authority violation, and emergency response teams can all be pooled together and managed according to a predesigned plan, but also, alarms can be set up to bring focus to low-low, low, high, high-high events that take place within parts of the process that will drive future improvements. 

Security

There are multiple aspects to data security. The basic feature for modern networks is data encryption so data remains secure from source to destination through out the transmision process.

But it is also possible to install security gateways that can  control who can browse, add, read and/or write to a tag on a per-user-per tag basis. In addition, security gateways can help protect older parts of the network where no data encryption algorithms have been implemented.