IIoT or IT/OT integration is quite popular these days, but how can these modern approaches and ideas be put into practice? This requires hardware that features the necessary openness and ability to meet the demanding requirements of the process industry, for example.
The controllers of Phoenix Contact’s PLCnext product family feature an open Linux system and are entirely suitable for industrial use. They enable easy integration of existing high-level language applications like databases or IIoT servers. Transferring the code into a real-time system customary for process technology is not necessary anymore. This is a real advantage in the age of IT/OT integration where complex high-level language applications meet the OT real-time environment. The possibility to use existing code from the IT world on a field controller can save a considerable amount of time and money. In terms of IT security, the open Linux system has no disadvantages as the controllers feature firewalls as well as user and password protection.
Thanks to Docker Engine integration on the PLCnext controller, handling of theses applications within Linux is simplified. By means of Docker, it is much easier to get Node Red or an IIoT server to the controller. Within so-called containers and with all the necessary software periphery, high-level language application programs are loaded to the controller. Loading, starting, and stopping those containers is quite simple and even possible without any Linux knowledge. For the installation of the different containers, the PLCnext Store is available, where you can get the containers, load them directly on the controller, or save them on a laptop for later offline installation in the field. Installation of the “app” or containers is performed via the web interface of the PLCnext controller.
The PLCnext Controller is the ideal IIoT platform for limitless automation, suitable for harsh industrial environments.
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Product case study contribution provided by Phoenix Contract