Using Ignition SCADA to Channel Brewery Plant Data from PLC and Data Systems to Azure Cloud for Universal Access
In an era where data-driven decisions shape the outcomes of businesses, our client, a leader in the brewing industry, found themselves with a challenge many face – making plant floor data readily available across the organization. As they sought a solution, DSI partnered with them to bridge the gap between isolated systems and universally accessible data analytics. This case study delineates how DSI turned this aspiration into reality.
Our client was facing a significant operational challenge: making plant floor data instantly accessible to every member of their company, no matter the device they were using – be it computers, tablets, or mobile phones. Their vision was not just to access the data but to enable predictive maintenance, perform Big Data analytics, and obtain actionable insights from this data to revolutionize customer engagement and open avenues for increased revenue.
Identifying and Establishing Communications: Our primary action was to initiate a deep dive into the client’s existing system. We identified five distinct PLCs, each operating on isolated networks. To maintain the integrity of these controls without interference, we installed NATs at each control system. This led to the creation of an isolated data collection network, bridging the gap between previously isolated control systems. Our team then documented and established connections, listing out hundreds of data points from each system that were later stored in the client’s cloud-based Microsoft Azure SQL Database.
Setting up Communications with Ignition Gateway: With the foundation laid out, our focus shifted to setting up a communication bridge between the PLCs and the Ignition Gateway. Utilizing Ignition’s native IO drivers on a dedicated PC, we streamlined the process of browsing PLC tags, enabling our client to access, control, and decide the nature of data being recorded.
Cloud Integration with Azure IOT Hub: Our final action step was ensuring a secure connection with the cloud-based server, we employed the Ignition Microsoft Azure Injector Module. This module sent the data points to the Microsoft Azure cloud. An essential feature we implemented was tagging each data point with a comprehensive description. This ensured that any employee, no matter their technical background, could accurately interpret and act on the data.
By following our three-step approach, the plant floor data, once confined to individual PLCs, became universally accessible. The company could now perform Big Data analytics, predictive maintenance, and predictive analytics, giving them the leverage to enhance customer engagement, provide market differentiators, increase revenue, and lower costs. Furthermore, with the integration of a cloud-based system, the company experienced improvements in equipment efficiency (OEE), reduced downtime, and a proactive alarm system notifying maintenance teams in real-time. The project not only met the client’s expectations but also positioned them at the forefront of technological innovation in their industry.