Connected Industry

Connected Industry

Communication network infrastructure in plant is the gateway to digital transformation. These communication networks allow connectivity among different devices and systems in plant making it possible to gather data for its use in information systems at a process, plant or company level.




Industrial Ethernet Infrastructure

The most important communication standard nowadays at industry level is Ethernet. Industry 4.0 aims to have the most amount of equipment connected, which is why a robust, resilient and safe network infrastructure is required. The network architecture designed at ECN Automation is strictly based on industrial converged Ethernet standards.

ECN Automation has experience in the execution of projects from design of the whole plant architecture all the way to the complete management of the whole network.

Structured Cabling

We define structured cabling as a system of devices, cables, conduits that communicate users with the control / information system.

When we talk about a project that requires network infrastructure, it involves designing the architecture at the floor level, controllers and control room. It is necessary to comply with the IEEE 802.3 standard for LAN networks that specify the implementation of the physical layer (cabling) and the standards of the ANSI / EIA / TIA-568A and ANSI / EIA / TIA-568B that define the connection types that can be used when assembling the twisted pair cable (UTP) with the RJ-45 connector.

We consider 3 main points:

Horizontal cabling

This is in charge of taking the information from the switches to the users.

Vertical cabling

Vertical cabling, also known as backbone or trunk cabling, is responsible for creating interconnections between equipment rooms, service entrance rooms and telecommunications rooms.

Control room

Area intended for housing communication system devices (control panels, servers, switches).

Network architecture

In ECN Automation, the creation of Network Architectures for industrial environments (OT) is carried out following the design and implementation guidelines for the development of convergent Ethernet architectures in Plant (CPwE). By following these guidelines, we ensure that our industrial network architecture is scalable, robust and secure.

Control architecture diagram example

In the image we can see a network architecture that represents, in addition to a general graphic vision:

  • Network design
  • Distribution of assets
  • Symbology
  • Communication protocol
  • Security

Control network architecture based on industrial ethernet

The design of the network architecture is based on 5 levels, where level 0 contains all the devices in the field such as sensors, robots or instrumentation equipment. In level 1 we will locate the control devices and in level 2 the equipment necessary to supervise or visualize the lower levels.

The third level refers to all the activities that focus on the main control room, here we can find the operation stations (HMI) and the industrial data center (IDC).

Levels 4 and 5 are part of the business network (IT). An advantage of this type of tiered architecture is that we can achieve a secure convergence with the business network, thanks to an independent network that is not shown but is known as a demilitarized zone (Industrial DMZ - Level 3.5).

Levels

Characteristics of industrial ethernet networks

Divided by levels and zones

Easy to manage

Fast failure detection

Quick integration of new nodes

Benefits of industrial ethernet

Economical

Rapid deployment

Compatibility

Simplicity




Industrial Data Centers (IDC)/Virtualization

The data center of your organization will be the central point of your infrastructure where all your equipment, systems and applications will converge. For this reason, it is of great importance to have the equipment that guarantees the complete and correct operation of your plant systems.

Either in a traditional way or using server virtualization, ECN Automation provides you with the experience gained over the years executing different projects allowing us to offer you security in the operation of your workplace.

Virtualized systems

Take a big step on the road toward the cloud with the virtualization of your systems.

We define virtualization as the process of creating a virtual or software-based representation rather than a physical one. Virtualization allows you to run different virtual machines simultaneously on the same server, each one working in isolation from the others. Achieve hardware independence, reduce infrastructure costs and electricity consumption.

Benefits

  • Centralized administration of all your virtual infrastructure
  • Increase the availability of your systems
  • Achieve hardware independence
  • Reduce shutdown times
  • Reduce cost in infrastructure and electricity consumption

Hyperconvergent

Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) is a unified, software-defined system that brings together all the elements of a traditional data center such as storage, computing resources, network, and administration.

This integrated solution uses x86 servers and software to replace purpose-built hardware. With HCI, it is possible to reduce data center complexity and increase scalability.

How does hyperconverged infrastructure work?

A hyperconverged platform consists of four tightly integrated software components:

  • Storage virtualization
  • Virtualization of computing resources
  • Network virtualization
  • Advanced management features, including automation

The virtualization software unbinds and clusters the underlying resources, then dynamically allocates them to applications running in virtual machines or containers. Policy-based configuration tailored to applications eliminates the need for complex structures such as LUNs and storage volumes.




Mobility

The current dynamics of operations require immediate access to information anywhere. The capacity of communication networks and cybersecurity gives us the reliable platform to achieve it.
Applying mobility we can access information from data servers, connected devices, CCTV and other sources of information on the plant from anywhere outside the control room, this allows us to view the operation, access reports, process alarms or indicators, through mobile devices.

For this, it is necessary to have a well-managed wireless network that allows mobile devices to be connected to the control / information system. We are talking about devices such as wireless access points that will be responsible for giving that access to the network to mobile devices such as cell phones or electronic tablets that interact with the system.

To achieve this interaction in ECN Automation together with Rockwell Automation we make use of the ThinManager solution with which we offer software solutions for automation networks that allow the secure and centralized configuration and implementation of applications and content to any PC, thin client, mobile device or user. Increase security and protection through advanced authentication and viewing capabilities that reduce maintenance and downtime by simplifying management of all devices and users.

Reliable management of thin clients and mobile devices

  • Password at user, user group or role level
  • By geolocation
  • By QR or RFID scanner

ThinManager architecture

Benefits

  • Facilitates maintenance tasks since the profile of the engineers can be viewed from any computer simply by using its user
  • Get more out of the control room due to the optimization that can be done by distributing the content on monitors
  • By facilitating the use of thin clients, the cost of operating terminals is reduced
  • Better use of server hardware due to the administration of applications is done centrally using remote desktop services
  • Facilitates the dynamics of operations by the use of mobile devices
  • Allows access to production reports and process indicators remotely
  • Agility in the operation and decision making due to the immediate access to information and flexibility



ECN Automation
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