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Data integration in the Industrial field

In the industrial field ServerNet offers transverse and direct connectivity with industrial control machines: PLCs (Siemens, Allen Bradley, Rockwell, Omron, Schneider, etc.), Operators’ PCs (Esa, ProFace, etc.) and SCADA (InTouch, Proficy iFix, Citect, etc.).

ServerNet can also collect and integrate environmental and industrial surveillance data concerning, for example, process and production areas.

ServerNet has specialized in extending the functions of the supervisors and data acquisition systems called SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition).
The use of modern technologies, such as Web browser and mobile phones, is at this point stabilized. ServerNet designed its platform following the concepts of IoT (Internet of Things) and Cloud, being a pioneer towards their natural development, investing resources in being among the first, today, in generating and offering a mature IIoT - “Internet of Industrial Things” - solution.
 

 

Several research institutes, such as the Gartner Research, indicate how even the Industrial field is now orienting towards Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Starting from the learning phase (machine learning) AI needs normalized, certain, complete, detailed, at the necessary frequency data and interoperable access. Phases following machine learning, require peripherals able to interpreter the algorithms predisposed by AI systems.

For its nature, IoT alone directly interfaces with sensors and predisposed objects, but it is incapable to integrate obsolete systems. Therefore, the modernization needed for an integrated industrial plants’ control is compromised.
 

SCADA and PLC

The picture shows an example of supervision and control of a purification plant. The solution in performed thanks to a programmable logic controller (PLC). A PLC is a computer for the industrial field, specialized in processes’ management and control. It runs a program that, reading digital and analogical signs’ values coming from sensors, manages the plants’ actuators.

 

Remote SCADA

 

When the supervisor s moved away from the plant it manages, a Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) is commonly introduced; a micro-pressure electronic device which deals with plant’s data transfer to the supervisor. It is also often referred to as Remote Telemetry Unit.

 

Integration today: SCADAs and PLCs managed plants

 

In most cases, when an integration between systems serving different plants is needed, a single brand logic re-wiring of them is usually preferred, they are technologically dealt with as if they were disconnected and separated plants and a real integrated connection is unlikely to be implemented.

Otherwise, SCADA centralization of supervision in a unique room Qualified Personnel manages is the choice, which is considered much cheaper and less risky. In this case, systems and data’s natural heterogeneity remains and the set of plants is improperly defined as integrated.
 

 

Even in case of a single plant, which is later enhanced, what we have just described often happens. Incremental expansions of plant at later times are commonly integrated the same way.

In the age of IIoT, which requires an easy and fast implementation, the above mentioned modernization solutions are unsuitable in terms of costs, risks and access availability for innovative implementations.
Security suffers as well; this is not natural in the IIoT and therefore remains outdated and often unsuitable in a complex multi-operator architecture.
 

IIoT - "Internet of Industrial Things"

 

Here aside, we can see an example of IIoT. For its nature, the system is able to connect to the different sensors trough cabled networks, serial ports and via radio transmission systems, using configurations in complete absence of a specific programming.

Natively, IIoT is able to connect to the Internet also using MQTT protocol, which allows downloading values from the sensors and transfer them to centralized standard service, using configurations often in complete absence of a specific programming.

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is an ISO standard light and publish-subscribe messaging protocol. MQTT efficiently works on the Internet environment because when exchanging data it uses a few resources and a limited band.

A IIoT system gives you the advantage it can be quickly installed and readings for measured values are easily implemented on it. On the other hand, it does not natively integrate with the existing supervisory systems and lacks of a contextual graphical representation of data and processes.
 

ServerNet IIoT

 

Even MQTT standard implementation makes the peripheral device LS24 able to exploit the protocol’s own characteristics to transfer data to third party MQTT Cloud systems. ServerNet LS24 device, designed for medical uses and realized following industrial standards, is itself a strong IIoT peripheral system; it offers computing power, low power consumption, functional autonomy, thanks to the internal battery, and various methods of communication (from mobile phones, WiFi, Access Point).

LS24 device normally acts as a IIoT peripheral hub, but in case of central services’ absence it also has autonomous functional continuity.
 

 

ServerNet wanted to extend the IIoT through:
• availability of its drivers, which can be applied to a wide range of industrial control Resources such as PLCs, TOs and SCADAs;
• capability to interact with specific “languages” characterizing each Resource;
• Web graphical representation of data and processes in a way similar to what happens with a SCADA;
• SCADA systems and single PLCs integration, even if they are isolated;
• local processing by sending the resulting data to PLCs, in order to extend their process capability.
• use of mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and so on, without the need to install additional software on such devices.


ServerNet integrates access’ control solving the lack of security typical of SCADA systems mainly based on modem or PSTN.
The technology behind all ServerNet products simplifies network maintenance, system installation and unit commissioning. A self-diagnosis system prevents extraordinary maintenance.
 

ServerNet IIoT extensions

 

Basically, ServerNet embraced a concept which is often referred to in industrial environments "what is working, is not going to be changed".

 

 

Systems based on PLCs and SCADAs have proved to be valid and stable over time. Combining them with an equally valid and stable system to share normalized, certain, complete, detailed, at the necessary frequency and with an interoperable access data, has been the keystone for the implementation of IIoT systems open to future uses such as, among the first, Artificial Intelligence.

Examples of application on ServerNet IIoT


GIS integration and geo-localization of distributed elements (edge computing).

 

4th generation Web SCADA (ServerNet IIoT)

Control and Telemetry

Analysis

 

*Above shown screens are extracted from WaterIT, a ServerNet IIoT application run in collaboration with IGP srl