Remote Access Monitoring for Oil and Gas Industry
KEB’s C6 VPN Router is well-suited for Oil & Gas applications. This post identifies the key advantages of using KEB’s VPN Router for remote access monitoring.
The basic functionality of the C6 VPN Router is that it facilitates a remote connection between a user and a PLC. Since the Router creates a virtual Ethernet or Serial port it can be used with all major PLC platforms like Allen Bradley, Siemens, or Schneider.
Many Oil & Gas installations like pumping stations or storage tanks are off the communication grid. The Router comes in a few different hardware flavors but the most interesting for remote applications is the cellular version.
The 4G cellular Router works on global GSM networks. This means it will be compatible even if your equipment ships overseas or to exotic locations (assuming a cell network exists). A user will have to pay for cell data usage but they do not need to invest in a costly radio network infrastructure. KEB offers various antenna options including one model that is rated for outdoor applications (IP67).
Data Logging & Remote Monitoring
The Router excels when data logging or remote monitoring is required. The HMI-version of the Router includes this functionality built-in to the device. Our C6 Router with HMI includes 4GB of local memory where data can be stored before exporting.
There are various ways to push the data including using the MQTT broker to cloud-based platforms like AWS or Azure.
The PLC tags are initially mapped using KEB’s Combivis Studio HMI software. The data can be exported in a variety of raw formats (e.g. .csv) where it can be manipulated further or used in custom dashboards. Another option is to use KEB’s HMI software to graph the variables using a built-in trending tool.
Alerts & Alarm Handling
Combivis HMI also includes built-in alarm handling tools. The alarms can help respond to critical events more quickly or plan preventative maintenance. The events can be triggered in a number of different ways (e.g. a set threshold has been reached).
It is also possible to assign priority levels to each alarm. Then, based on the priority level, specific actions can be programmed – a typical scenario is for an SMS text or email notification to be sent out.
The Router features a number of security features. First, the Router has digital inputs that can be used to enable data transmission. Usually, this means a key switch or local enable must be pressed before the Router is activated. Alternatively, an SMS text could be used to initiate the connection.
The Router also has outputs that can be fed back to the PLC and provide confirmation that the device is in transmit mode. After the Router and PLC are connected, the data is then transmitted via a 128-bit encrypted VPN connection.
KEB’s CONNECT software is used with the Router hardware to make a connection. CONNECT has a number of features that ensure secure connections. The software tool has extensive configuration options which allow an administrator to create users. Each user can be assigned an individual password and expiration dates can be defined.
Custom firewall rules can be made with CONNECT and unique MAC ID and IP addresses can be set. This ensures only authorized computers or connections have access to the remote PLC.
Finally, CONNECT features an integrated audit trail where user IDs and logins are time-stamped and recorded.
Designed for Tough Applications
Don’t be afraid to put the C6 Router in the field – it was designed for tough industrial applications. It is housed in a rugged metal enclosure. It accepts an input voltage between 9 … 36VDC so it can be used with the main control power or battery. As standard, the Router is operable in temps from 0 to 50°C.
Are you interested in remotely connecting to your Oil & Gas controls? If so, contact a KEB America engineer today.
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