Hilscher’s netIOT Edge Gateway securely connects Real-Time Ethernet automation networks with a ‘Cloud’ or any IoT-directed application. As a field device, it is performing a cyclic I/O data exchange with the PLC and communicates with further IoT-capable field devices within the automation network. These key field data exchanged in real-time form the basis for intelligent higher-level IoT applications for cyber-physical processes and M2M solutions. The gateway is designed for continuous operation in environments with permanent intranet or Internet connection. Security mechanisms such as the physical separation of automation and IT network, a secure operating system, the execution of signed firmware and packets, as well as encryption techniques of the latest standards secure the data integrity and offer protection against data theft. The gateway base function forms the web-based Thing Wiring editor NodeRED, which serves to model the flows in the devices. Data apps and data profiles are created within minutes with predefined function blocks of the editor. OPC UA and MQTT functions address objects in IoT-capable field devices or in the cloud via standardized IoT protocols. The Hilscher netIOT Service offers additional software packets to extend the Edge Gateway base functions by further applications or accesses to specific clouds.
Automation systems can range from highly flexible networks managed by skilled engineers who can “make things happen”, to fixed installations that are impossible to change without great expense or delay. The pressure to “do better” is immense and constant yet staffing levels are under continuous review and skills are slowly disappearing as generations of personnel retire or are laid off.
netIOT Edge can be a solution to these challenges. Considerable flexibility is on offer and costs can be much lower.
Here are a few ways netIOT Edge can enhance brownfield sites. They are based on actual use cases:
• Direct polling: netIOT Edge is used to poll the PLC and pull data from it into local memory. This can be done over an existing network or – for increased security – via an independent Ethernet connection from the netIOT Edge gateway to the PLC. Once data is in netIOT Edge it can be used locally (e.g. a database application) or streamed to the cloud.
• Active mode: netIOT Edge becomes a part of the PLC’s automation network as a slave device, and the PLC pushes data to it. It’s a fixed solution that can be alarm/event driven. Like Direct Polling, it takes up bandwidth (though not as much). Once data is in netIOT Edge it can be used locally or distributed in the usual way.
• Listening mode (or P-mode): This is Hilscher’s name for the so-called “promiscuous” mode commonly referenced by IT experts. Listening or Passive mode enables netIOT Edge to sit unnoticed on a network, monitoring any or all activity. Selected events or data streams are extracted and delivered to local storage for further processing. P-mode can only READ data; it cannot WRITE to the network so it is a secure method of monitoring what happens without interfering with operations.
These use cases translate into the following possible scenarios:
• netIOT Edge can be a master for polling devices.
• netIOT Edge can be a slave collecting data passing between the PLC and its I/O.
• netIOT Edge can read/write data to and from the controller.
• netIOT Edge can be a slave and have the controller push event driven data to it.
• netIOT Edge can be an “invisible” slave reading (only) data passing between the controller and its I/O.
• netIOT Edge can poll data and read data off the I/O network simultaneously.
For more info contact Miles Industrial Electronics, Tel: +44 (0)1604 771122,