Industrial Data Xchange (IDX) is a South African based ICT 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 req
Tag management of real-time data systems can prove challenging. As an industrial IT company we frequently come across the problem where tags need to be migrated from one system to another or where tags need to be synchronised and maintained between systems including historians. Generally, this ends up being a manual process, often involving Excel and much diligence and patience of the maintainer’s behalf. IDX Unifig was the first incarnation of a tool we designed with the aim to simplify the migration and management of tags between systems. The tool worked, but with as with most first editions of software tools, we could see the need for improvement and refinement of the approach used. Thus Tag Manager was born, and has become the key stone in the IDX 8 software suite. All other IDX 8 modules, such as Data Exchange, Alarms and Events and the Historian use Tag Manager to store and reference tags. The comparison result we like to see - no changes. Tag Manager employs a plug
Quick guide to get access to the P+F advanced diagnostic module via RS485 and COM converter. In order to do this, you need an RS485 converter which can convert RS485 to either ethernet or USB. I used a device from HMS (Anybus) called the Serial Server ( AB7701 ). This device connects to RS232, 422 or 485 and makes the data available over ethernet to your computer using a virtual com port. Connect the converter to the Diagnostic bus connection on the Pepperl & Fuchs fieldbus power hub 1. Once you have the com port available on your PC, Check the comport number via “manage my computer” Make sure that the FieldConnexd Diagnostic server (FDS) is running. Go to “Windows button”>“All programs” > “Pepperl+Fuchs” and start FDS control center In case the FDS is not running click onto “Start FDS” (in case it is running nothing is left to do here) click onto “Hide”. To avoid that this piece of software will be forgotten in future click onto settings and choose un