Industrial network communications

Use Python and Node-RED to create an industrial client-server test system.

Industrial operations such as chemical refineries, power plants, and mineral processing operations have different network communications requirements than most IT installations. Some of the key industrial communication requirements include security, multivendor connectivity, time stamping of data, and alarm or quality indicators.

To meet industrial requirements, a communications standard called OLE for Process Control (OPC) [1] was created. The original OPC design was based on Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) technology, and it quickly became the standard for communications between control system consoles, historians (data storage devices), and third-party applications (Figure 1).

The original OPC standard worked well, but it had major limitations in the areas of Linux and embedded systems, routing across wide-area networks (WANs), and new security concerns. To better address new industrial requirements, the Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard [2] was created.

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