Edge Device Manager: Applications in the IIoT World

Edge Device Manager: Applications in the IIoT World

“Plan it before you program it,” a saying that echoes loud and clear in IT circles, is essentially the ethos of any successful IoT project. Internet Of Things (IoT) is a booming concept with an ever-increasing acceptance rate. Amidst the fascinating trends that emerge in this domain now and then, Edge Computing certainly tops the list. The idea of processing data remotely without sending it to the Cloud is an appealing concept. However, the only roadblock is the lack of proper planning to execute Edge computing. Without arranging for edge management before edge processing, you’re simply setting yourself up for a major disappointment. So, here is some compelling explanation for why an Edge Device Manager is what your project needs right now!!

What Is Edge Device Management?

Creating a central network where all small and large edge devices are interconnected and where you can track the performance of each of these devices is the essence of Edge Device Management. This management also covers the functional tasks of diagnosing failures, overseeing security, and pushing updates. A good Edge Device Management strategy covers all of the following aspects:
  • Seamless Connectivity
  • The collection of IoT devices should remain connected at all times with industrial communication protocols to reap maximum benefits. Working in diverse network conditions is not possible without having a way to bridge the functions of all the devices somehow.
  • Robust Security
  • Instances of security lapses and breaches via the edge are prevalent. Therefore, having end-to-end security through special web-controlled applications is essential for good edge device management.
  • Easy Upgrades
  • Only an advanced firmware management process enables the scheduling and handling of updates periodically. This becomes essential to empower the Edge network to make local decisions more efficiently.
  • Future-proofing
  • Keeping the network future-ready so that any emerging technology and protocol is incorporated when the need arises is a hallmark of edge device management.
  • Ready To Install and Use
  • The software that empowers an organization to manage its devices should be convenient. Therefore, Edge Device managers should come as certified products delivered ready to install rather than individual tools for different functions. All data migration services require device managers of similar kinds.

Why Are Edge Devices Essential for IIoT?

The features and definition of Edge devices represent their utility for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). In a nutshell, edge devices help transmit data between a local network and the Cloud. However, to send this data without a glitch, there needs to be an intelligent gateway that segregates, translates, and securely transfers data from the source to the Cloud. Edge devices play this crucial role. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) needs optimization to improve productivity significantly. Industrial settings require real-time analysis and adaptations to changing demands, so they must be performed consistently without delays or downtimes. Since Edge computing provides a low-latency alternative through its fast local processing, Edge devices are the most viable option for IIoT applications. Edge devices for IIoT offer critical benefits, such as the condition-based monitoring service. They can analyze data to detect and report possible failures, which improves equipment uptime. The fast processing speeds also enable technicians to plan for potential repairs, which allows them to stay equipped with the necessary data to plan accordingly. A different perspective on why industries need Edge computing over Cloud computing is that the Cloud usually depends on third-party gateways to boost security. Confidential industrial data is somewhat at risk in such arrangements. On the other hand, the security-conscious approach of edge devices offers a solution to this problem, especially in extreme security environments where third-party security is not allowed.

Various Roles and Applications of Edge Device Manager in the World of IIoT

Edge device managers play the following pivotal roles in an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) setting :
  • Manage a Huge Influx Of Data
  • With data being received and transmitted in abundance, the impeccable management capabilities of edge device managers come off as a blessing. These applications make rapid decisions regarding which data to keep and which to discard, thereby cutting the clutter completely and promoting proper utilization of information.
  • Event Processing
  • Once the computationally heavy work of developing and recognizing patterns is completed, edge device managers, with their ability to guide the execution of plans locally, complete the necessary actions without requiring any intervention.
  • All-round Monitoring
  • The edge device manager commands it all, from detecting latency changes to monitoring bandwidth usage. Also, the power monitoring function of edge device managers is crucial in industrial environments where devices are placed at inaccessible locations.

The Bottom Line

Edge computing is the best way to centralize industrial computing systems sustainably and effectively. Edge device managers serve by creating a conducive environment for edge devices to prove their worth. With proper management, edge computing gives businesses the luxury of operating in a hands-off environment, significantly lowering the instances of failures and network latencies. Uthunga is a product engineering and industrial automation solutions company. We offer data migration services, Automated testing services, DevOps consulting services, and more. Our Edge Device management offerings are tailored for specific industrial usage. Contact us to learn more about our industrial automation solutions and DevOps Services.
Role of Protocol Simulator in Digital-Twins

Role of Protocol Simulator in Digital-Twins

Digital twins have revolutionized the way organizations think about their product design and development. This futuristic concept has become one of the major trends of industry 4.0 since IoT and simulator tools have become more and more prevalent. So, what are digital twins, why is it important for organizations, and what is the role of protocol simulators in digital twins? To find out the answers to all these questions, read on. 

What are Digital Twins and How do they Work?

Digital Twins are the digital representation of physical objects or procedures. They allow the transfer of data which is collected from IoT devices, sensors, edge hardware, and other embedded devices, thus, replicating the real data transfer process in product development companies. It is a mega model that provides comprehensive information about the physical device along with its mechanical elements, magnitude, and different functional aspects that it encompasses. Digital twins are created with the help of sensors, communication networks, and a digital platform. These virtual models can aid in implementing new technology trends by employing advanced analysis, monitoring, testing procedures, and services. 

You cannot understand the system behavior precisely through traditional methods as communication networks have become very complex these days. So, by using network protocol simulation tools, you can develop the networks in real-time. The network is molded with the help of devices, links, and applications to get accurate network performance reports. 

Importance of Network Protocol Simulator

A network protocol simulator depicts the model of the real communication network with its application traffic and operating environment. This can help in studying the behavior of real networks under different operating conditions in an economical manner without any kind of risk. However, this network protocol simulator must have adequate fidelity so that the network dynamics are reflected precisely. A reputed digital transformation services provider can run a reliable Modbus master simulator faster than in real-time and offer a wide range of Modbus protocol simulator tools for network visualization, and analysis. 

Some common protocol simulators are listed below:

  • HART

uSimulate HART helps in simulating the communication protocols, control systems, field devices, procedure flow, and network traffic. HART can simulate HART slave devices efficiently. This hardware simulator can play a crucial role in the verification of host systems such as AMS, DCS, configurators, calibrators, and also allows operator training.

  • GE-GSM

GE-GSM Simulation tools are capable of simulating GSM Gateway as well as the GSM protocol version 1-message types. It can frame a Virtual Plant Topology with the help of the Network Topology which is popularly known as the GSM Gateway Configuration tool and simulates different Process Signals along with the  Network Traffic.

  • IEC-104

IEC-104 simulator is an efficient protocol simulation tool that can support 255 independent client nodes. This slave simulator can test the compliance as well as the performance of your IEC-104 masters by running on multiple platforms. It is a vital aspect in the power grid networks in which the reliability of the process is assured by the efficiency and speed of how the IoT devices share information between them. IEC 104 is a comprehensive communication protocol for seamless communication between the control station and the electrical substation.

Benefits of protocol simulations using digital twin

There is a range of advantages to be gained through the use of simulation, such as:

  • Lower Financial Risk

Financial risk is less in simulations as compared to real-life experimentation.The simulator proves to be an economical investment for verification of various host systems like AMS, DCS, Configurators, Calibrators, Diagnostics, etc. In real-world systems, the potential costs include hiring staff, buying new expensive equipment, and much more. Protocol simulation enables you to test theories and prevent costly real-life errors.

  • Repeated Testing in exactly the same conditions

Different theories can be tested conveniently by simulations, thus, allowing innovations in exactly similar circumstances. You can even test and compare your innovative ideas without any deviation.

  • Gain Better Insights of Process for Improvement

Required improvements can be integrated easily at any time throughout the product development process by testing different theories through protocol simulation.

  • Know the Short and Long-Term Impacts

With the help of a Modbus RTU protocol simulation, you can peep into the future by thoroughly analyzing the impacts in the coming years in just a few seconds. It enables you to see both short as well as long-term impacts to make more informed decisions that can prove to be beneficial in the future.

  • Assess Random Events

You can assess random events with a protocol simulation like an unexpected staff or supply chain issue.

  • Analyze Non-Standard Distributions

You can track non-standard distributions with ease along with analyzing your set parameters. When you take note of all changing parameters with the help of a simulation, you can mimic the real world more accurately.

  • Boost Stakeholder Buy-In

A Modbus tcp master simulator can also improve buy-in from your partners, and stakeholders. The results of any procedure changes can be visually demonstrated, thus, improving engagement with the stakeholders or even enabling a sales pitch based on simulation.

In the present competitive age, you must implement this potentially disruptive technology. However, the preciseness of digital twin models relies mainly on the accuracy of the data that is used in designing them. Utthunga is one of the top product development companies having a highly experienced team of professionals who can support projects of any scale and overcome all kinds of challenges with their cutting-edge digital twin technology and best-in-class DevOps Services. Utthunga’s protocol simulators have been created by experts on a world-class simulation framework, uSimulate which is easily configurable and boasts high performance.

Top 10 Industrial Automation Trends in 2022

Top 10 Industrial Automation Trends in 2022

Most industries have been forced to change course due to the global pandemic. However, the forward-thinking industrial manufacturers had already begun their digitalization journey and were in a much stronger position during that crucial time. Since many industrial manufacturers have already learned from the crisis, they’re investing in new technologies, processes, and business models, to emerge stronger than before. If you are searching for the latest inventions, systems, and strategies for your industry, you might want to consider the trends that are influencing industrial automation.

1. Increased Investment in Internet of Things (IoT)
Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution has transformed traditional industries into smart ones by incorporating innovative digital technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing technology that is helping manufacturers in connecting and monitoring the different components of their operations, and getting insight that was never before possible. This flawless connectivity gives valuable data to the manufacturers that enable them to optimize, change, and enhance their manufacturing processes. IoT is not only improving safety, and streamlining manufacturing, but also creating new advanced products with better capabilities.

2. Accessible Automation
New technologies have made automation accessible to more manufacturers and are significantly changing the way industries operate. Automation has become possible with user-friendly Manufacturing Process Management systems, simple robotics solutions, and human-robot collaboration. With industrial automation, workflows have been optimized, resulting in better production and cost reduction.

3. Use of Autonomous Mobile Robots
One of the key drivers of this industrial automation trend is autonomous mobile robots. While robotics has always been an ultra-sophisticated technology that needed trained roboticists, this new technology has now made automation attainable for industries of all sizes. Tailor-made autonomous mobile robots are the future of industries and have reinvented the way workers operate within an industry.

4. Shift To The Edge
Agility will be critical in 2022. Collaborative robots can make real-time complex decisions, and are better equipped to respond proficiently even in changing situations. For this, data processing and computing power need to shift to the edge, or nearer to the creation of data to boost processing and reduce latency. It will not only help in manufacturing goods efficiently but also ensure the security of the workforce.

5. Universal Connectivity
To avail industry 4.0 benefits, industries need to establish automatic, instant as well as universal communication protocols amongst their devices and locations by hiring reliable industrial engineering services. Universal connectivity provides the ability to grow in the future with standard Ethernet as its specifications can be expanded. It allows all devices to speak the same protocol with the aid of harmonized application profiles.

6. Use of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Since industries have to manage more data than ever before, cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, can help them to make the most of that data. AI and machine learning do not just mean walking or talking robots, but it refers to the smart abilities of a system to recognize data trends and infer logical insights that can help industries to make the best data-driven decisions. AI and machine learning can enhance many aspects of a manufacturing operation, like Supply Chain Visibility, Inventory Management, Asset Tracking, Forecasting Accuracy, Warehousing Cost Reduction, Transportation Cost Reduction, and more.

7. Remote operations Are The New Normal
Due to the pandemic, many industries have started running their operations remotely, with a majority of employees working from different locations outside the plant. It needs a connected workforce along with the right cyber-security tools to give real-time visibility as well as seamless control. Remote industrial operations require appropriate technology for a well-connected workforce, that facilitates collaboration, supports interactions, provides secured access to information from anywhere, and reduces paperwork. This boosts the efficiency of the tasks and also ensures a safer working environment for employees.

8. The Surge in 3D Printing
These days, 3D printing is combined with traditional procedures to create unique combinations that perform much better at a lower price and can be manufactured according to the customer’s needs. 3D printing offers more possibilities for designing as per preference. It can help in achieving the same thing in a single take without additional procedures like screwing or welding. Waste can also be reduced, and recycling cuts down the waiting time for the replacement parts and transportation.

9. Implementation of VR and AR Tools
Transfer and retention of knowledge are quite challenging for the industries but now, new tools like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can be employed by hiring expert product design engineering services to address this issue. Both these tools are interactive experiences and the main difference is that in VR, a simulated environment can replace the user’s environment completely whereas, in AR, the user’s real-world environment is altered by overlaying additional data. Both these technologies can be used in the form of a head-mounted device for personnel training. Many companies use AR solutions for remote assistance to allow people in different locations across the world to have a live view and troubleshoot together.

10. Constructing Intelligent Factories In The Cloud Technology
In addition to robotics and virtual reality, advanced environments are created using cloud migration technology and smart sensors. These smart sensors can carry out various tasks like conversion of data into different units of measurement, communication with other devices, recording feedback, statistics, and more.
Utthunga is a reputed product engineering company which offers industrial automation solutions that can cater to the technology needs of the industrial world. Utthunga’s expert engineers can dive into your process and create a precisely tailored automation solution symbiotically ushering in this new industry 4.0 era of production. To leverage the advances, contact us today!

Role of HISTORIAN in a fast-changing industrial world

Role of HISTORIAN in a fast-changing industrial world

Big Data is the new buzzword in the town as industries realize its importance and benefits. Many sectors are investing in analytics to unlock hidden potential in the data generated by their machines. Most of this data comprises sensor data, process data, performance logs, etc.
The product design and development teams benefit the most from Big Data. The amount of data generated by industries is enormous and is constantly increasing. Some industries generate up to 8 gigabytes of data per day. This data needs to be appropriately managed. Thus, the role of a data historian becomes critical for smooth integration, storage, and access of industrial data.

Historian and its use in Industry 4.0 / IIoT

Data historian is a part of industrial automation solutions and helps with end-to-end data management. This data is processed by digital transformation services to help industries make data-driven decisions for maximizing operational excellence and profit. Some advantages of deploying data historians are:

  1. Data accessibility: Data historians can collect data from multiple sources and store it in a structured and secure format. Object linking, OPC UA, etc., are some protocols used to get the data ready for consumption.
  2. Cost reduction: Data compression algorithms used by data historians help store large data volumes efficiently for more extended periods. The maintenance costs are reduced significantly by data compression. Moreover, databases can be accessed by systems like MRP, ERP, SCM, etc., which reduces data loss and data integration costs.
  3. Easy access: Compared to relational databases, data historians are faster in storing or retrieving data in real-time. Thus, data is available 24X7 for visualizations or analysis.

Evolution of HISTORIAN with IIoT and Big Data

Data historians had supported product design and development teams in industries since the 1970s when the first general-purpose computers were introduced in markets.

The older data systems were time-series databases that were deployed on the industry’s premise. As a result, very little data was clocked, and the main focus was on data visualizations only.

With the advancement in technologies and the onset of the digital world, the focus has shifted to cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and IIoT platform. Due to these changes, the industrial engineering services teams expect data historians to have enhanced data wrangling capabilities.

This includes data identification, metadata addition, data relationship mapping, and dataset mobilization to various servers.

The old and standard data aggregation process has become obsolete. Product engineering services teams are looking for end-to-end data management and digital transformation services.

How HISTORIAN Improve the OEE

OEE, overall equipment effectiveness, is a benchmark to quantify manufacturing productivity. A 100% OEE score points to the fact that your industry produces high-quality products without any downtime.

Once the industrial processes are automated, the OEE benchmark will become more critical. Data historian is beneficial in improving OEE scores:

  1. Bidirectional communication is possible with advanced data historians.
  2. Data storage, processing, and analysis can be done in real-time. Thus, building and integrating machine learning models with batch analytics becomes easy.
  3. 24X7 data access helps in monitoring the industrial equipment and creating real-time alerts.
    Data encryption technology makes the system safe.

How HISTORIAN is Dominating the next Gen Industrial Data

The data historian is evolving with technology innovations and industry requirements. Simple data storing in the 1970s has changed to data architecture and infrastructure.

As per the Industry 4.0 requirements, features like data integration, asset modeling, visualization, analysis, etc., should be part of industrial automation solutions.

The future of data historians has much more data crunching and analysis in store for it. In addition, operations data historians are challenging to work with and expensive to implement.

Moreover, they have limited visualization and analysis capabilities. These data historians are not scalable across multiple platforms also. Thus, it becomes difficult for the system to process large volumes of data.

The key technologies that future data historians need to incorporate are:
1.Data wrangling: Data is the new gold for industries. If data quality is terrible, extracting insights from it will be a painful task. Thus, data historians should have capabilities like data aggregation, data cleansing, data enrichment, etc.

2.Digital Twin: The digital twin concept is to replicate the industry’s processes and products virtually. The virtual world provides the capability to model a product’s attributes based on the data associated with it.

3.Blockchain: It is a record-keeping technology that facilitates transactions through decentralized networks. No central authority can control the data in the blockchain ecosystem. Thus, the data remains safe and secure.

4.OPC UA: It is the primary communications protocol for Industry 4.0. OPC UA enables hassle-free communication between heterogeneous machines. This technology saves a lot of time and reduces costs for industries in collecting and sharing data for analysis.

The takeaway

The automation journey for industries isn’t a straightforward path. There are a lot of features that need to be incorporated into the Industry 4.0 framework. Utthunga takes pride in introducing its highly skilled team to handle automation for industrial engineering services.

This team can support digital transformation consulting and Testing as a service automation product. So, if you are interested in hiring a consultancy for industrial automation services, you can reach out to our team for a discussion.

How OPC UA is Revolutionizing Industrial Automation

How OPC UA is Revolutionizing Industrial Automation

revolutionizing Industrial Automation

Think about a production plant or a manufacturing unit, it is a visual cacophony of machines, robots, assembly lines, drives and many more parts, and yet completely (almost!) synchronized and working together. Bringing all of them together is the Industrial Internet of Things coupled with the open, Ethernet-based OPC UA communication standard that forms an critical part of the industrial automation landscape.

OPC UA does the job of integrating the IT/OT technologies with the diverse products, solutions and services across the entire OEMs, factory and process systems. Whether it is the security measures, networking, establishing standardized communication or needing a vendor and platform neutrality, OPC UA lays the foundation for a digitized industrial automation .

Source: Opcfoundation.org, OPC UA Interoperability for Industry 4.0 and IoT.

Connecting machine data to the enterprise

It is a fact that automation in the industrial world open doors for new business opportunities, enhanced solutions and services. But, the reality faced is how to effectively transfer the raw data generated from the shop floor equipment to the business applications like ERPs, CRMs; and draw insights to take actionable decisions for a competitive advantage.

Having a fully automated OEM unit or process system means having real-time and accurate information from these systems for analysis, machine alerts, maintenance notifications etc. based on your priorities. OPC UA provides two paths for this integration process:

  1. Via customized development solutions and services through OPC UA stack APIs
  2. Providing COTS solutions such as connectors, servers, clients etc. that connect your machines, field devices and other equipment etc. to the enterprise

OPC UA is the open source communication standard protocol designed specifically for industrial automation. It acts as a bridge that connects the IT with the OT, for information exchange between machines, devices or within devices. Implementation of this magnitude needs extensive software and hardware support through the OPC SDK that helps the stakeholders to overcome the various development and integration challenges associated with this process.

Consisting of APIs, OPC UA stack, protocols and sample implementations that support different platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and programming languages like C, C# and Java; the SDK makes your devices, products and applications to be OPC enabled.

Meeting the Industry 4.0 requirements

Industry 4.0 mandates interoperability and standardized data connectivity for meeting its specific requirements including but not limited to

  • Integration across all levels.
  • Secure transfer and authentication at user and application levels.
  • Conformity to industry standards.
  • Scalability.
  • Semantic mapping of various information models to represent the actual products and their production steps.
  • Ability to plug-and-produce (instant discovery mechanisms that identifies OPC UA enabled devices and their functions when added to a network)

OPC UA serves as the common data connectivity and collaboration standard for local and remote device access in IoT, M2M, and Industry 4.0 settings. It supports OPC UA Server development, OPC UA Client Development and OPC UA Nano Server development for various communication mechanisms:

1. OPC UA client/server Model:

This one-to-one communication mechanism is used extensively in automation. The OPC server transfers the data to the OPC client based upon request in a secure, encrypted and reliable manner using the communication protocols such as EtherNet/IP, Modbus, etc.

2. OPC UA PubSub Model:

In the network, one-to-many or many-to-one communication mechanism is established. The data is available from the publisher, which can be accessed by multiple subscribers. Along with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and cloud environment, OPC UA PubSub enables real-time communication at the control level (sensor, actuator or embedded devices) and meets the demands of time-critical applications.

3. OPC UA over TSN:

While OPC UA provides a standardized mechanism for data communication in a secure way; TSN is the infrastructure of vast array of sensors, actuators and other automation devices that extends the OPC UA information model down to the field level. TSN provides interoperability to the data link (layer 2) of the communication network. Thus, allowing guaranteed, optimized and scalable bandwidths for real-time capability and low latency in the network.

Utthunga’s OPC Spectrum

Utthunga’s comprehensive integrated automation service portfolio extends from the field-level devices to the enterprise-level systems. Enabling in this endeavour is Utthunga’s uOPC Suite, OPC product portfolio; and consultation and development services that help manufacturers to take advantage of all the modern technologies like AI, mobile devices, big data, machine learning, predictive maintenance, machine vision and more to create a smart industry automation environment.

As a flexible partner for OPC UA, our OPC offerings designed by experienced and certified professionals provide both horizontal (between devices from different vendors on different networks) and vertical support (from the factory floor to the enterprise level) thus enabling the industry 4.0 ecosystem.

Our technical and domain expertise in embedded, mobile, multi-platform and cloud connectivity for OPC UA Server development, OPC UA Client Development and OPC UA Nano Server development using the uOPC Suite helps in planning, executing, and delivering high-grade services and turnkey projects. It is designed to drastically reduce time and efforts to build custom solutions with easy integration and configuration.

Partners, end users, and customers can leverage our IP to deliver mix of solutions and services for:

  • Building products using out accelerators (protocol stacks, edge connectivity stack – uCOnnect, cloud application framework- Javelin)
  • Connecting heterogeneous system using our industry protocols stacks (HART, FF, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherNet/IP etc.)
  • Creating field device integration and connectivity (FDT/DTM, FDI, OPC) solutions

Please visit our website or contact us directly to learn more about our OPC UA capabilities.