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IIoT gateways, the smart connection

08 August 2019

HMS Industrial Networks has now released over 20 new versions of its popular Anybus X-gateway and Communicator gateways that have support for IIoT applications using MQTT and OPC UA.

System integrators, machine builders and device manufacturers can now benefit from the fact that data from virtually any industrial equipment communicating on industrial Ethernet, fieldbuses, CAN or serial protocols can be transmitted to IT systems and IoT software in an easy and secure way.

Connect anything to IIoT-applications

Regardless if the data is generated in a single device, a series of machines or entire automation systems, Communicator IIoT and X-gateway IIoT allow data to be seamlessly integrated, monitored and analysed from modern IIoT-systems.

Data from new as well as existing industrial equipment can be integrated easily into factory automation systems or machines, allowing for improved transparency and decision-making across factories, increasing productivity as well as helping create a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

As easy as IIoT can get!

Anybus Communicator IIoT specialises in providing data from devices on serial protocols and CAN, while Anybus X-gateway IIoT integrates data from fieldbuses and industrial Ethernet networks. Typical use cases for the gateways involve data integration from Modbus RTU/TCP, CAN-based protocols, PROFIBUS-DP, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, EtherCAT, POWERLINK and CC-Link.

Existing users will feel at home since no programming is needed and the configuration logic of the existing Communicator and X-gateway stays the same in these new IIoT-versions. By using the free configuration tool Anybus Configuration Manager (ACM), users can easily configure, convert and tag the desired industrial data for efficient use in IT-systems or IIoT applications. When setting up the IT-connection, the gateways can be presented either as MQTT Client or OPC-UA server.

A Cybersafe secure connection to IT and IIoT

The fact that Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT are standalone hardware sitting between OT (operational technology) and IT, ensures a high level of security. After installation, only one-way data flow from OT to IT is allowed through the gateways, which means that the industrial equipment and systems that are connected to the gateways stay isolated from any potential attack from the IT side. For example, instead of being directly connected to IT, a PLC on an underlying industrial network can safely and securely connect and transmit data through the gateways, without risking being attacked.

What is OPC UA and MQTT?

OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is a service-oriented industrial communication standard for secure and reliable data exchange. OPC UA is platform-independent and ensures a seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. OPC UA defines services for data exchange between Clients and Servers including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications. The standard is managed by the OPC Foundation.

MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport) is a publish/subscribe messaging protocol ideal for IT/OT bridging and IIoT solutions. Based on its light-weight and straight forward approach, it has become one of the most popular protocols enabling industrial data and information exchange. MQTT is based around a message broker to which industrial devices (clients) connect. The clients exchange information via the broker based on topics with a flexible syntax. The broker uses the topics to decide which clients to receive a message.

Compared to OPC UA, MQTT is generally more flexible and easier to implement, but on the other hand, it lacks the data, service models and security schemes provided by OPC UA.

Other benefits of the HMS’s IIoT gateways

Also Included in the gateways are a host of other easy to use features such as Integrated Email client, FTP server and embedded webserver pages for diagnostics and data visualisation, free technical support and a 3 year warranty.