IoT Connectivity with AWS
Beckhoff IoT technologies enable plug-and play access to AWS
As information technology and automation technology continue to converge, cloud-based communication and data services are increasingly used in industrial automation projects. Beyond the scope of conventional control tasks, applications such as big data, data mining and condition or power monitoring enable the implementation of superior, forward-looking automation solutions. New hardware and software products from Beckhoff for Industrie 4.0 and IoT ensure the simplest possible implementation of such advanced solutions.
Industrie 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) strategies place strict requirements on the networking and communication capabilities of devices and services. In the traditional communication pyramid point of view (figure 1), large quantities of data must be exchanged between field-level sensors and higher-level layers in these implementations. However, horizontal communication between PLC control systems also plays a critical role in modern production facilities. PC-based control technologies provide universal capabilities for horizontal communication and have become an essential part of present-day automation projects exactly for this reason. With the new TwinCAT IoT solution, the widely used TwinCAT 3 engineering and control software provides the ideal foundational technology for Industrie 4.0 concepts and IoT communication. Moreover, new IoT-compatible I/O components, like the EK9160 IoT Coupler from Beckhoff, enable easy-to-configure and seamless integration into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem.
AWS IoT offers the ideal communication platform to enable a secure and performant transmission of machine data to AWS. TwinCAT IoT as well as the EK9160 support AWS IoT and can consume its functionalities with minimized configuration effort. With the help of TwinCAT HMI, which can be hosted in an Amazon EC2 instance, machine data can be connected via an MQTT Server Extension and visualized via HTML5 technologies and therefore displayed on any device.
Current awards for Beckhoff IoT technologies:
The TwinCAT 3 HMI Server is a modular web server that provides the human-machine interface (HMI). It supports all CPU classes from ARM to multi-core. The powerful architecture enables a wide range of application scenarios from local panel solutions to multi-client, multi-server and multi-runtime concepts.
TwinCAT 3 IoT Communication provides basic functionalities in the form of PLC libraries for sending and receiving data via the so-called MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol.
The TwinCAT 3 IoT Data Agent provides bi-directional IoT communication functions in the form of a gateway application that can be configured and operated independently from the TwinCAT real-time environment.
The TwinCAT 3 IoT Communicator makes it possible to easily transmit process data to multiple end devices, monitor status changes, and send information back to the machine.
The EK9160 Coupler provides direct connectivity for EtherCAT I/Os to the Internet of Things (IoT) without the need for a control program. It converts the E-bus signal representation to different IoT communication protocols and enables in this way the simple and standardized integration of I/O data into cloud-based communication and data services. Neither a controller nor prior programming is necessary. The I/O data transmission can be parameterized in a user-friendly configuration dialog of the integrated web server providing access via any browser. The required cloud services and security functions (authentication, encryption, etc.) can also be conveniently configured using a browser. Following parameterization, the coupler autonomously transmits the digital or analog I/O values to the cloud service, including timestamp.