Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) is a South African based IT industrial company with a global focus specialising in the provision of data communication solutions. On this blog, IDX experts comment on industrial communication protocols, trends, and tips as well as what is on the go in the labs at IDX.
Bridging SQL to Profibus
A client came to us with a situation where he required some data on his SQL database to be sent to his PLC. In his case, he has a couple of sensors inserting data directly to his SQL database and he needed these data to be processed by his Profibus PLC controller so that the correct actions could be taken.
The solution accepted by the client was a SQL to Profibus bridge. IDX offered to provide a custom software that would extract the SQL data in real-time and expose the extracted data as a Modbus TCP slave device. The data could then be converted to a Profibus protocol using a gateway such as the Anybus X-Gateway AB9001, and sent directly to the PLC controller.
We provided the client with a custom software called IDX 8. IDX 8 is a customised software offered by IDX, it contains a suite of different functionalities which includes tag management, remote monitoring, historian, alarms and events, data exchange, etc. The function of interest here is its data exchange component which allows for real-time data to be shared with various different systems.
After the client installed IDX 8 on his test server that he brought over for a demonstration of our proposed solution. We continued to setup IDX 8 to extract the SQL data and expose it as a Modbus slave, the steps for the setup are as follows:
Setup Data Exchange service
Setup SQL interface
Setup Modbus Slave interface
After the setup we demonstrated to the client that the data was indeed being extracted from the SQL database, this is shown below using the “Live Tag View” function that IDX 8 supplies:
The ANYBUS X-Gateway AB9001
To configure the AB9001, all that is required is an “IPConfig.exe” tool supplied by HMS and a web browser. We used the “IPConfig.exe” tool to setup the IP address of the AB9001 gateway then configured the Modbus settings using a web browser by accessing the device’s web interface using the assigned IP address.
The hardest part in this process was the mapping of the Modbus transactions to instruct the Modbus master to read the correct values from the correct Modbus slave registers. Once that was done, we used the “Transaction Monitor” function that is provided by the device through its web server to demonstrate to the client that the values read by IDX 8 was indeed being exposed as a Modbus slave device. This is shown in the image below:
Setting up the Anybus X as a PROFIBUS slave
Setting up the Profibus DP slave on the Anybus X-Gateway was done by just assigning a slave address to the device on its “Profibus DP V-1” menu in its web server. After that we then checked the mapping of the Modbus Master registers to the Profibus DP Slave device using the “Mapping Overview” page provided by the web server.
To confirm that the gateway was indeed ready for Profibus communication, we setup a Profibus Master simulation using a tool called Profitrace from Procentec. We demonstrated to the client that the Profibus Master was indeed in data communications with the gateway and that data from that was originally from the SQL was indeed being sent through to the simulated master, this is shown in the image below:
Last week IDX were called to site at a large commercial residence building in Pretoria, South Africa. Where our client was implementing an IoT solution for remote monitoring and control of various HVAC and power systems in the building. The control system the SI chose in this case was a Modbus enabled Industrial Micro PC called the Revolution PI. The client had Modbus sensors connected to boilers, air conditioning systems, ventilation systems and power meters. The Modbus communications between the controller and the sensors were intermittently failing due to various installation and implementation faults:
1. Earthing and Shielding Within any fieldbus communication installation, one of the requirements to ensure uninterrupted operation is to implement adequate grounding and shielding techniques. Effective grounding and Shielding help to prevent electrostatic and electromagnetic pickup, which can lead to failed communications.
Some of the shielding and grounding requirements for a Modbus RS4…
In this blog, I will discuss the steps involved in getting the Netbiter to record and display values coming out of the ComAp Generator Panel, so that one can do remote monitoring and control of the generator. The Netbiter Model used in this case is the EC220 and the panel used is the InteliLite AMF 26 P. The steps followed here can be applied to any MODBUS device due to the generic nature of the Netbiter.
Step 1 - Physical Connection Check that the Control Panel has a communication module attached to the back of it. You will need to establish the medium (RS458/RS232) and the protocol spoken (MODBUS RTU/ASCII) - all of this information will come from the user manual of the generator. Finally confirm the communication settings (baud rate, parity, stop bits, etc) - these can sometimes be changed so check what they are on the actual panel. In this case, we have the following settings: MOUBUS RTU over RS232 (you'll need an external converter to convert the RS232 to RS485). Baud rate: 9…
Time to dust off the cobwebs and do some "legacy" development! In this blog, I'm going to show you how to get to a point where you can start writing Java code on the HMS Anybus Communicator. I find that it doesn't matter what language you code in, the tricky bit is getting to the point where you can simply create and run the time-honoured "Hello World!" program. Using new editors, sorting out dependencies, making physical hardware connections can take up a big chunk of your time.
First, some information on the hardware platform: The Anybus brand from HMS contains hundreds of gateways (or protocol converters) that can be used to convert between common industrial communications protocols such as PROFIBUS, MODBUS, Ethernet/IP, ControlNet, DeviceNet, PROFINET, CANOpen, J1939, etc. Check out anybus.com for a full list of protocols supported out of the box. Using these gateways you can for instance read registers from a MODBUS device and make them available to a PR…