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IniNet Solutions

Industry 4.0 'off the shelf'

04. Dezember 2019, 10:00 Uhr   |  Andreas Knoll

Industry 4.0 'off the shelf'
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Peter Brügger, iniNet Solutions: „With our solution, your permanent staff can easily program industrial 4.0 applications.“

iniNet Solutions has developed an automation architecture based on web server-supported SCADA and programming software, which is intended to bring manufacturing companies more easily than ever to industry 4.0 level. This architecture can be seen at the SPS show.

„The biggest challenges on the way to Industry 4.0 lie between the automation and IT worlds,“ explains Peter Brügger, Managing Director of iniNet Solutions. „Two worlds meet - and this problem has to be solved“. With its new hardware and software architecture, the company wants to bring the two worlds together to form a productive unit.

According to Peter Brügger, production processes must be programmed exclusively at the automation level to avoid redundancies: „The control level determines which orders are to be processed and which products are to be manufactured. It also specifies the requirements for production equipment, production times, parts lists, test protocols and much more. This also means that the control level determines what is to be produced - but how it is to be produced is determined by the machine“.

At the production level, therefore, an object-oriented approach is pursued as far as possible, in the sense of orientation towards the machine as a mechatronic unit. „The respective production and control units thus retrieve the orders from the control level, communicate with the subsystems required for product production, allocate these and provide them with the link to the specifications from the control level,“ explains Peter Brügger. The material requirements and consumption are reported to a logistics system and the production status is returned to the control level. Each object deals exclusively with its own task. „This means that for each controller not only the IO level is programmed for classic automation, but also the communication level for integration into the company‘s industrial 4.0 network. For each product that is then manufactured, programming is carried out as ‚classically‘ as possible in IEC 61131 on the IO level of the automation systems.

The SCADA software ‚SpiderControl SCADA Server‘, which is available for various operating systems, forms the basis for the construction of the control unit. If the SCADA server is integrated in the PLC, it can communicate directly with the local PLC application or with remote automation components. The SCADA server includes the programming tool ‚SpiderPLC‘, which enables programming with a function chart according to IEC 61131 via the browser. What‘s special about it? „The function blocks not only execute simple logic, but can also call functions from external scripts in the most important current high-level languages, including JavaScript, i.e. NodeJS and NodeRED, PHP, Python and .NET,“ says Peter Brügger. In addition, a runtime for the execution of the required script languages is installed in the PLC. The runtime is started in the background and waits for a request to execute a function from SpiderPLC.

This makes it possible to link the PLC code directly with the data and functions from the control level. To connect to the IT level, computer scientists can make the code available for communication with their applications in the high-level language of their choice. This code is encapsulated via a function block and integrated into the automation.

„On the basis of the SpiderPLC/SCADA infrastructure, common processes can be easily implemented,“ concludes Peter Brügger. „The decisive advantage is that the programming of industrial 4.0 applications is possible without any problems with the company‘s own permanent staff“. The classic problem of the gap between automation level and IT is also elegantly solved, because both sides can remain in their technical domains: „IT provides all relevant interfaces in a programming language known to them. The automation level uses these as function blocks in a function block diagram programming, which has access to all automation components via the SCADA and its drivers.

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