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PLC with Remote Access
I have built panels for 30 years, but this is the first time I have been requested to give remote access. Need advice on how to tie a PLC into the web. HMI? or thin server? or?
1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

I have a client who wants to remotely log into a site (as you would a web page), turn 12 pumps on and off, look at two flow meter outputs (meters have 4-20 mA outputs), have the PLC or HMI panel send him an e-mail if the flow goes high or low. Plus he wants the unit to totalize the flow over the past 24 hours and send an e-mail to him each day.

The PLC is the easy part ... it is everything after that I am loosing sleep over.

Sooooo ... for the past week I have been on web site after web site and tried a bunch of demo software ... still I am a bit lost.

I thought I could go with Automation Direct and use their PLC coupled with their Cmore HMI panel.

Maybe I can but I have two problems:

1) Thought he Cmore has a data logging function and a calculator, I don't see anything in the software for totalizing the flow. My thinking is I might need to get two stand alone totalizers and connect them using a serial port to the panel. This just adds another level of complexity having the panel to communicate with the PLC, the router and now two totalizers. Is this what needs to be done or is there a simpler solution?

2) I was hoping the client could just use a common browser and be able to connect with the panel. Instead, I am told I will need to buy a hardware VPN device. Is this the way to go? Again, I am trying to make it as simple for my client as possible (and for me as I am learning on the fly).

Maybe my entire approach is wrong ... I am hoping you guys can give me some guidance.

Thanks so much ..... Mike

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

If by Automation Direct PLC's you mean the Koyo Direct Logic series, it's certainly doable, but kind of like cutting wedding cake with a hammer. If by Automation Direct PLC's' you're including Do-More (205 or BRX form factors), that would be a much more pleasant experience. You can email right from the PLC. As far as HMI's go, I believe the C-More product is decent, but haven't used it. I typically use Idec, which is greatly superior as far as the local HMI experience (color saturation, brightness, resolution), though if it will be accessed primarily remotely, that may be of no value. It is able to be replicated remotely for monitoring or control. Don't bother trying to totalize in the HMI, just do it in the PLC and access the accumulator register from the HMI.

If you ONLY need remote HMI access (including when you're standing next to the equipment), Red Lion and Weintek have some no-display HMI's in a variety of configurations.

2 out of 2 members thought this post was helpful...

An easy way to do this is to use a Red Lion data station or HMI with web server capabilities. You can create tags to your PLC, then set alarms based on states or values from those tags. You can also allow control of the PLC. You left out a lot of information, such as the PLC type (red lion talks to pretty much everything though) and whether or not you have an existing HMI.

Of course the other part of this is the ability for the user to get on the same network as your device. Some facilities don't allow any type of remote connection while others are happy to give VPN access.

Let us know more about your situation.
Mark

2 out of 2 members thought this post was helpful...

there are devices that could add functions the existing PLC/HMI aren't capable of. The first one that comes to mind is Red Lion's Data Station Plus

http://redlion.net/products/industrial-automation/controllers-and-data-acquisition/data-acquisition

Web server, data logger, multiple comm driver support to PLC & HMI, and if I remember right, it has some limited scripting.

There are a number of PLC's and HMI's out now with integrated web publishing if you decide to scrap automation direct.

Depending on requirements, give consideration to access security.

1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

Thanks guys!

Right now the system there is not working, and I am not expected to use any of it. So I am wide open to what equipment I want to use. I will definitely look into everything that was suggested.

I just picked Automation Direct because it is easily available, and the software is free.

I have used AB and GE PLC's before but since this is a one off project, I don't want to spend a fortune on software.

I do agree, using the PLC to do the totalizing makes a lot more sense.

This is a remote site, and I have no restrictions on and internet connection. I am not even sure what they have now but I know they put in a connection to access the last panel.

Thanks so much!
Mike

2 out of 2 members thought this post was helpful...

Hey Mike,

Sounds like you're after a web SCADA. Check out the IntegraXor SCADA (https://integraxor.com); has all the functions you need, including a secure web server that is accessible remotely, even without a fixed IP. It's completely free to try out, so why not give it a go.

Full disclosure: I am a system integrator for IntegraXor. If you're keen I could get you a couple of discount codes.

I would just focus on the hmi. If must have a Webserver, option to email alarms, and a data logging to some form of extra memory (be it cf card or usb) I normally use schneider hmis so i am biased to their products.

But you get a lot of hmis that can do this. Then i would use a secomea sitemanager in the cabinet to give access to the device. The customer can log in on the webserver of the hmi and view any pages of the hmi and he would receive his emails via the sitemanager. The customer will have to give internet access to the site manager or you can use a 3g/4g sim card.

On another note you can use a codesys based plc (again i use schneider somachine but there are many other brands). They have a web vizu function where you can build web pages on directly on the plc....they also have ftp servers and datalogging so you can log to a csv or text file and customer can just download via the log files....and they also have mail servers for the alarms.

Many ways to skin this cat