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Usually collecting data from automation systems can be done with several ways. Collecting data from fieldbus may require changes to the system itself. If there are several different fieldbus in use, adapters are needed for converting the data to a unified form for reading and transmitting. Usually the data can be read from OPC or OPC UA servers. An OPC UA server can be easily and safely linked to the cloud service. The automation system's control system (SCADA) may offer pre-made interfaces, from which you can read and transmit the data to MES AND ERP systems as well as IoT cloud services.
If the wanted information isn't available from the automation systems, you will need more sensors and measuring equipment for data collection. If the measurements are not needed for controlling automation, you can do the measurements and data collection completely separated from the automation using modern data collection equipment that supports cloud services. In addition to the traditional sensors, the system can be implemented with new wireless sensors. The wireless technology makes it possible to add new operations to the system easily and cheaply. The radio network used in the wireless data collection can be a closed factory network or a nationwide service, like LoraWAN or NB-IoT.
With IoT Edge Gateway devices, you can collect data from several different sources. Gateway buffers, combines and analyzes the data so that only the needed information is transmitted to the cloud. Thus minimizing data transmission and storage expenses. Some IoT Edge Gateway devices can be directly connected to fieldbus, like Profinet and Modbus TCP. Sometimes the data can be read from OPC UA servers. You can usually also ready status data from devices. Many IoT Edge Gateway devices include a modem or a mobile router, from which the data is transmitted straight to the cloud.
The IoT data transmission can be implemented through the factory network or through mobile network connections. Data transmission is usually part of the company's other digital communication when it is implemented through the factory network. The advantage of mobile routers and Edge Gateway devices is the independence from the factory network. However the connections need to be secure, which can be achieved using VPN connections, APN services offered by the operator or a system specifically for IoT connections.
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