Serial-to-Ethernet Connectivity

A leading beverage producer wanted to track and improve its production output by displaying up-to-the-minute production information on the factory floor. This capability was required to make the data accessible to production managers and workers, and to track actual performance against goals. Data from all production stages needed to be collected and displayed on electronic displays throughout ...

06/01/2006


System Integration

Device server functionality allows virtually any device with a serial port to be connected to a TCP/IP network.

A leading beverage producer wanted to track and improve its production output by displaying up-to-the-minute production information on the factory floor. This capability was required to make the data accessible to production managers and workers, and to track actual performance against goals. Data from all production stages needed to be collected and displayed on electronic displays throughout the factory.

The manufacturer wanted to connect the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in the production cells and the electronic displays on the floor to the plant's local area network. An OPC server system would process the relevant production data from the PLCs and send it to the individual signs on the factory floor.

The Digi One IAP device server from Digi International let the beverage maker standardize on one device server product and actively manage production performance and goals. The unit features a switch selectable RS-232/422/485 interface and support for DIN rail mounting and multi-master/multi-protocol operation to add flexibility by allowing serial devices to be managed from more than one host machine, regardless of the protocol native to the device.

A device server and protocol bridge rolled into one, the unit allows virtually any device with a serial port to be connected to a TCP/IP network. Applications may communicate with the serial device using TCP/UDP or Digi's patented RealPort COM port redirection for remote native COM port access. RealPort makes it possible to establish a connection between the host and networked serial device by creating a local COM or TTY port on the host computer, allowing existing software applications to work without modification.

The protocol conversion portion of Digi One IAP means that the device server can bridge together two industrial devices, provided they speak one of the supported serial (DF1, Modbus, ASCII) or Ethernet (ModbusTCP, AB/Ethernet, Ethernet/IP) protocols. It also allows for multi-master access, which means that many masters can simultaneously communicate with a single slave, even if they are using different protocols. The unit is also able to convert ASCII data from devices such as scales, bar-code readers, RFID devices, and cameras to Industrial Ethernet protocols.

In some instances a second serial port acts as a pass-through port, allowing a local serial device like an HMI panel to communicate to a PLC slave without disrupting the serial-to-Ethernet connection to an application across the network.

With the use of the device server, the beverage producer connected all its serial interface control equipment and was able to identify capacity issues and manage production efficiently.

For more information, visit www.digi.com


Online Extra

Wireless options also available

For remote mission-critical data operations, beverage producers and other manufacturers also can create a secure wide-area network (WAN) connection via an Ethernet-to-cellular or serial-to-cellular interface. Wireless can be more cost-effective than traditional landline connections, and can provide good coverage to remote locations.

Digi Connect WAN IA is a wireless WAN cellular router/gateway that uses wireless GSM or CDMA networks to create a TCP/IP connection to remote sites and devices, including SCADA devices, PLCs, and remote terminal units. In addition to standard cellular modem communications, Digi Connect WAN IA offers local intelligence. Features include network routing, persistent connections, firewall, and a secure integrated remote management software package.

Advanced features include TCP/UDP, DHCP support, NAT, port forwarding, GRE protocol tunneling, and access control lists.

For more information click here .