CHALLENGES OF THE SMART FACTORY PROJECTS
For Smart Factory projects (Industry 4.0), the first and most important step is to implement digital data collection, which requires the use of a data collection tool that supports communication with different field devices (OPC UA, Modbus TPC/IP, REST API) and the integration of custom protocols. The Xserver.IoT.200 was developed with these requirements in mind.
An important aspect of physical installation is that it can be installed in the production line automation cabinets, and can be snapped onto the Xserver.IoT.200 hat rail. Xserver.IoT.200 accepts a wide power supply range and is able to effectively handle substantial amounts of ripple, noise and supply voltage fluctuations.
WITH FLEXIBILITY IN MIND
Another important aspect of the installation is the communication setup. In our experience the Ethernet cabling is not easy to implement for some manufacturing units: it has to be implemented at height, possibly with 0.4 kV power cables running alongside a cable tray or the distance is too long. In such cases, the Wifi connectivity provided by the IoT server is very useful and can provide significant cost savings.
In more than 60% of the surveys carried out at our partners' sites, customized technological solutions are used in the production lines and a wide range of equipment is installed (PLCs, Industrial PCs, HMIs, etc.). Therefore, it is crucial to implement communication with these devices, Xserver.IoT.200 supports a wide range of built-in communication and its flexibility allows the development of custom protocols.
Based on feedback from our partners, these projects usually involve highly skilled IT professionals and programmers, so it is particularly important to them to have a solution that they can easily apply to these needs. For Xserver.IoT.200, applications can be built in .NET 6 C# in Visual Studio development environment, which is a familiar environment for deployers.
We provide a wide range of software add-ons and sample applications for developers to download from Github or the Nuget-org platform, helping you to install them as quickly as possible. Of course, any other vendor's add-ons that are made in .NET 6 or NetStandard can be used.
We provide the IoT Explorer application for our product, which makes app management (installation, update, diagnostics) easy to implement.
Nowadays, IT Security is a key concern, as attacks against production systems (data theft, blocking their operation or taking control from outside) are becoming more frequent. In the case of IoT Server 200, these requirements have been taken into account to the maximum, the system is based on the Linux operating system with a built-in firewall and brute-force attack protection.
The firmware of the IoT server is designed to prevent unauthorised code from running remotely. A high level of data encryption was a priority, so a built-in security chip can also support these needs. The communication takes place over SSH or HTTPS, where critical data is encrypted using AES-256. The IoT server is Microsoft Azure Certified. We pay special attention to continuous and long-term product support, so our products always meet the latest software and security requirements.
Our surveys show that for over 90% of end users, data loss is critical:
in the case of missing quality data, the quality of the product cannot be guaranteed and cannot be traced
the availability of these data is essential for production-related qualification
these data are needed to train financial and efficiency indicators
the continuously available data are required for the ever-stricter authority requirements and data provision (food quality, environment).
Our IoT servers try to minimise the occurrence of data loss by having built-in Onboard Storage, so that in the event of a breakdown in upstream communications, they can temporarily store data (this storage has a capacity of several weeks). According to a joint survey with end-users, most of the problems are in the internal IT network, and the causes are:
IP conflict or configuration problem
network device failure