Internet Control System?


Thread Starter

Mike Boudreaux

At the ISA show this year, Moore Process Automation Solutions introduced
what they call an “Internet Control System” (ICS) called Procidia
( Based on what I’ve read so far, the control
system has little to do with the internet, other than purchasing and
support. I was not able to attend the ISA show this year. Did anyone get
a chance to see this new system? Is the software NT-based or Unix based?

Why are they calling it an ICS? On their web page, they state that “The
Internet Control System (ICS) is web-based technology that leads process
automation into the 21st century.” I haven’t seen any technical
information to back this up. What does this mean? Is the HMI web-browser
based? Does it use Java or ActiveX controls? How can I control my
process through the Internet? Why do I want to?

Mike Boudreaux

Mike Boudreaux

Nevermind that last message. I’ve already found the answers to most of my questions (by digging a little deeper). Yes, it does use a browser-based HMI (more specifically, IE 3.02 or higher) - meaning no client software maintenance. The software appears to all be MS Windows-based - 95/98/NT. It sounds like an interesting solution. And they claim to have 50 ms update times.
I’m still interested in why I would want to make my control system accessible over the internet. Based on the number of malicious hackers who continually attack web servers on the Internet - it seems that you’re opening up your system for nothing but trouble.

John O’Beck

I can think of a couple of reasons that you would want a HMI to be ‘internet’ based:
1) As you mentioned, there is no client software maintenance
2) Even though you would not generally put a HMI out over the internet, you would, within the plant, want to use an Intranet as a top end networking scheme. This allows the same set of tools, protocols, etc. to be used transparently by multiple users. A good example might be integration of a CCTV system with the controls. If they are both intranet based, they both just pop up in your browser.
3) Having the internet capability allows remote viewing/data gathering, etc. Obviously security is a concern, but if the system is generally not connected to the internet and you want to install a software upgrade or look at some troubleshooting data you could call the plant, have them plug the system in, browse to the security page, log in and there you are.
I use a similar product called Wizcon to control processes using internet technology (Java).

The advantage is NOT the internet, it's intranet and RAS access that's greatly simplified. Not only can authorized users access the entire process from their LAN stations using IE or Netscape, they can access the entire system (or authorized portions) with DUN and RAS from their home computers with IE or Netscape.

No costly software, no setup issues, and very importantly, simplified learning curve, everyone knows how to "surf".

I shudder at the thought of placing our process on "The Net".
But for simplified LAN and RAS access, Wizcon's JAVA technology is great.

If you'd like additional info, drop me a note.

Mark Hill
Intelligent SCADA Solutions

Mike Boudreaux

I agree with what you are saying about using an Intranet, but Moore is marketing the product as being an “Internet Control System” which can be used over the Internet (as well as a Intranet/WAN/LAN).
>No costly software, no setup issues, and very importantly, simplified
learning curve, everyone knows how to “surf”.<

There’s also the issue of flexibility and scalability. It’s hard to think of a system that has scaled better or adapted better than the Internet and the same technologies are applicable to local Intranets. For example our Java solutions will scale from embedded systems on up. We have GUIs served from systems with 512K memory and can interface to “Application Servers” running on multiprocessor machines and, of course, everything in between.

>I shudder at the thought of placing our process on “The Net”.
But for simplified LAN and RAS access, Wizcon’s JAVA technology is great.<

In general I agree, but if you’re talking about remote monitoring/maintenance/troubleshooting, etc. then I think you probably have the best chance of securing well understood, standard technologies and it’s probably the most usable.