Over the Edge and into the cloud

The three Edge variants of B&R are: Edge Connect, Embedded Edge e Edge Controller


In the age of the Industrial IoT, it's not just what the data can tell us about individual machines that is interesting. "I want to be able to compare machines and lines against each other, or even different production sites around the world," explains Ralf Pühler, Industrial IoT product manager at B&R. 


The hardware that sends the aggregated data to the cloud is known as edge devices. "We call them that because they are the last physical entity on the way to the cloud," explains Pühler. These devices form the interface between the operational technology (OT) at the machinery level and the IT solutions in the cloud. OT includes hardware and software components that monitor and control devices, processes and events in real time.


Data collected at the OT level can be transferred to the cloud in different ways, depending on the respective application and volume of data. "That's why we offer three types of edge devices to ensure that we have a solution to fit every situation," says Pühler.


If a sensor receives a signal once per hour, it makes practical sense to send the data directly to the cloud. Pipelines that are monitored for leaks using sensors are a good example. "Cases like that don't require real-time control, so there is no need for local control logic." For simple applications such as this, a B&R bus controller suffices. This transmits unprocessed I/O signals to the cloud in encrypted form via OPC UA. "We call this option Edge Connect," says Pühler.


Where larger volumes of data are involved, it is worthwhile to aggregate the data on the machine first. This has two advantages: it reduces bandwidth requirements and costs for cloud services and it provides a sufficient buffer to prevent data from being lost in the event of a connection error. "In this case, our standard control systems can be used," notes Pühler. "We call this an Embedded Edge, and it executes real-time machine logic as well as transmitting data to the cloud."


To monitor entire production lines, data from hundreds of I/Os must be preprocessed before being sent to the cloud. In these cases, a standard controller is no longer enough. Pühler has a solution for this as well. "Here a B&R Automation PC can be combined with a comprehensive Industrial IoT platform create what we call an Edge Controller." 


B&R Automation- Via Sirtori, 13/C20017 Passirana Di Rho (MI)

Tel. +39 029320581 - Fax: +39 029320581

 www.br-automation.com - email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Three forms of B&R's Edge.


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