More answers about how to advance intelligent data sharing, analytics

Experts provide more answers about helping industrial communication advance intelligence data sharing and analytics for industrial control systems, after the Control Engineering “Control system integration” series of webcasts. The April 11 webcast is archived for a year.

By Control Engineering April 22, 2024

 

Learning Objectives

  • Experts answer additional audience questions from the webcast, “Control system integration: Helping communications advance intelligent data sharing, analytics.” The Control Engineering April 11 webcast will be archived for a year.
  • Additional answers include 5G, battery energy storage systems, cybersecurity, dashboard use, edge gateway, standards and other topics.

More answers about industrial communications to advance data-sharing insights

  • Industrial automation communications experts answer more audience questions from the webcast “Control system integration: Helping communications advance intelligent data sharing, analytics.” The  Control Engineering April 11 webcast is archived for a year.
  • Additional answers include monitoring battery energy storage systems, cybersecurity and standards.

Industrial automation communication experts answered additional audience questions from the webcast, “Control system integration: Helping communications advance intelligent data sharing, analytics.” The Control Engineering April 11 webcast is archived for a year.

During the webcast, experts answered audience questions in a question-and-answer session at the end. Additional audience questions about 5G, battery energy storage systems, cybersecurity, dashboard use, edge gateway, standards and other topics are answered below.

The two presenters for the Control Engineering April 11 webcast, “Control system integration: Helping communications advance intelligent data sharing, analytics,” are Robert B. Trask, PE, director and North American representative, EtherCAT Technology Group; and Tom Weingartner, technical marketing director, PI North America.

The two presenters for the Control Engineering April 11 webcast, “Control system integration: Helping communications advance intelligent data sharing, analytics,” are Robert B. Trask, PE, director and North American representative, EtherCAT Technology Group; and Tom Weingartner, technical marketing director, PI North America. Courtesy: Control Engineering webcasts

Expert presenters on industrial communications

The two presenters for the webcast are Robert B. Trask, PE, director and North American representative, EtherCAT Technology Group; and Tom Weingartner, technical marketing director, PI North America (Figure).

Question: Can O-PAS (Open Process Automation Standard) cover control system communications?

Trask: It can, however, O-PAS does not have the momentum in traditional automation systems as OPC-UA. [At present] it is mostly a process (oil, gas) standard, whereas OPC-UA covers many use cases.

Question: Can a dashboard be set up to help with industrial communications and how?

Trask: Of course a dashboard can be set up. This depends on the type of controller is being used and its capabilities. How open is the controller to sharing data and what is the mechanism? Is dashboard functionality a part of the controller or is it open to a mechanism like OPC-UA (OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture) or MQTT (message queuing telemetry transport), which are the main two mechanisms in use today.

Question: What are the requirements for monitoring a battery energy storage system (BESS)? Where does the information need to be viewed?

Trask: It is always acceptable to view BESS monitoring in an BMS. BESS is fairly new, and acceptance is spotty.

Question: Who is responsible for total security of system(s) and analytics?

Trask: Security of systems is always on the end user. Communications at an industrial level is not as terrifying and difficult as is often portrayed. Device-level communications is often made easier by the security aspects of the fieldbus. For control systems, it is overly cumbersome to have security down to the device level. This drastically affects cost and complexity and depending on the field level communications, may not even be needed if IP routing is not used. As far as analytics, the same rules apply.

Question: How can the right information be shared with the right people in real time without jeopardizing industrial network integrity?

Trask: Zero trust. Every castle in Europe has a moat to keep out invaders. Anything let in is known and throttled. This is always my thinking when discussing industrial network security.

Weingartner: One idea is to use an edge gateway like the one mentioned in Lesson Objective 3 (Assess ways information is exchanged with other software platforms in the organization and the cloud, analyzed and delivered where needed for better decisions.) It reads Profinet data from the network without interfering with the real-time performance, translates it to OPC UA, and then sends OPC UA information to where ever you need it to go. Of course, this assumes that another port on the edge gateway is connected to a non-OT network so this traffic doesn’t interfere with real-time operation.  There should be these types of gateways available with protocols besides Profinet.

Question: I believe you said 5G does not work well in plants due to the metal beams?

Trask: 5G is an open-air mechanism. The small wavelength of 5G is often attenuated by factory building infrastructure. Every situation is naturally unique. The problem I have had is that it may work now, but then a structure or skid is added that affects communications. Always look for what changed or could change.

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com, and moderator for this webcast.

KEYWORDS: Control Engineering webcast, industrial communications

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