JAN-FEB 2019

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INTECH JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 23 FACTORY AUTOMATION and deletion of test data. To both solve the problem and provide secure storage, a hosted VPN in the form of a secure, industrial VPN router and related services was implemented. Local data was still stored and used to quickly test and document process changes, but the hosted VPN stored large amounts of data securely in a database, including change control. VPN client applications had dash - boards to easily trend the secure data and ensure access to accurate, raw data. In another application, personnel at a large farm needed to monitor multi- ple pump stations remotely. They used HMIs for local operation, including troubleshooting and making changes to the pump control system and set points. Remote access to these HMIs was available via smartphones and tab- lets at any location with Internet access (figure 4). Remote monitoring enabled quick notification and response to pump system problems, as well as to related process and equipment faults. The embedded HMI's remote access functionality provided low-cost and simple monitoring via smartphones and tablets. For remote locations without Ether- net or Wi-Fi access, a cellular-hosted VPN router was installed. Adding a simple, secure client and mobile app, personnel could service, monitor, and troubleshoot the pump station re motely. PLCs and HMIs can save data locally and format it as required, while provid- ing some degree of security when this data is accessed by remote devices such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets. These types of IIoT-based solutions are com- mon and work well in many instances, especially in applications where access is one way only, from the PLC or the HMI to the remote devices. For added security, often needed when control from remote devices to PLCs and HMIs is required, the use of firewalls and VPN access are a best practice. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bill Dehner (bdehner@automationdirect. com) has spent the majority of his 14-year engineering career designing and installing industrial control systems for the oil and gas, power, and package handling industries. He has a BS in electrical engineering with an associate's in avionics from the USAF. He currently works for AutomationDirect as a technical marketing engineer. View the online version at RESOURCES "Remote access to automation system components" "HMI remote-monitoring trends" "New HMI alternatives improve operations and cut costs" operations-cut-costs

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